June 1st
Golden Square
Golden Square Car Park
Rising Festival
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As far as cool shit goes, bursting into an inner-city multi-level carpark to experience installation art is some pretty cool shit. And Golden Square is all about being cool.

A pyramid of light, vast projected panels, multi-panel screens, and a big inflatable head make for welcome objects of bedazzlement in this unique space of cosmopolitan delight. A rooftop trash mansion of political satire, neon, and gaud is everyone’s favourite cool thing.

A procession of eclectic performers sweep into the scene. It’s a nod to good old-fashioned Chinese dragon dances – now with trumpets, sax, and neo-pagan costuming. A celebration of all things human, silly, and culturally diverse. Golden Square seems like a broad sandbox for artistic voices of the east. Or perhaps where east meets west.

There’s a sense that, if you hang around Golden Square long enough, that things will happen. Those things will probably be brimming with style, light, and wonder – lovingly crafted and audaciously performed.

But for all its glamour, many of the video installations at Golden Square fall a bit flat. I sometimes wonder if the unwritten rule of video art is that it needs to be broadly nonsensical. “Why can’t we view Europe from a chair?” asks one of the biggest pieces, over and over. A question that seems to allude to the meta-truth of our needing to use video to observe the world. Or something like that.

Projection, screens, space, and light is a powerful medium. And we have an absolute glut of it in our lives these days. I can’t help but feel like there’s much greater opportunity for rich stories and experiences to be created in this medium. For now, you’ll probably find these works struggle to compete with a snuggly Sunday afternoon on youtube.

Joshua Kernich

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