An entire continent is on fire*, Facebook’s immovable ad policy now determines truth in politics, and this country’s ongoing project of genocide continues. The inexorable truth of democracy? Progress comes slowly.
But, this is Rhubarb. And for the 41st festival, we begin with an offering. Of and for the future. With the plurality of our artists’ voices, we’re attempting to collectively conjure radical futures.
Rhubarb has always existed as a container for our wildest artistic experiments. But, this is not futurism. There are no flying cars here. Instead, this is a real attempt to dismantle the systems that are as oppressive as they are governing. The artists in this year’s festival prioritize process over product, and in doing so mutate our notions of what art-making and art-watching can be. These are artists who allow themselves to fail. Because where failure has always been paramount to artistic development, the ability to fail— within a prevailing model of scarcity—continues to be rooted in privilege. Ultimately, this year’s festival is an experiment in density: where ideas co-exist in psychic and physical space, where past, present, and future collide, and where the accumulated impact remains unknown.
It starts with an offering and it ends with an intention: that you, as audience member, engage actively in this festival and in the unknown and use these moments to reflect, to dialogue, and to imagine.
Because when we collectively imagine the future, we can maybe, just maybe, change our present.
This is Rhubarb. Welcome.
Vanden Boomen, Theresa Cutknife, Claudia Edwards, Clayton Lee + Victoria Mata
*This message was written at the height of the Australian bush fires.