Talking Art


Each season, MPavilion draws together a raft of artists spanning Melbourne and the globe to talk about their craft, in addition to letting you participate in a series of talks and workshops in the gardens.

As part of the inaugural MPavilion, provocative photographer and art world luminary Bill Henson, and dramatic auteur and genre-defying chanteuse Sophia Brous came together for MRelay—MPavilion's annual conversation relay.

Here, the two are ruminating on what transpires under the cover of darkness. What does the night offer? Is it merely a change in atmosphere, or does the sundown bring with it a space for relief and retreat? What can transpire under the cover of darkness, outside of institutional hours?

What is at play when we give voice to an image? In this set of performance lectures presented by Interval—a new platform for nonfiction representation in the field of contemporary art—Melbourne artists Eugenia Lim, Benjamin Lichtenstein and Gabrielle de Vietri explored the relationship between thought and affect for MPavilion 2015.

Take some time out and watch as they each narrated a selection of video and imagery drawn from their private and public lives, experimenting with research, narrative and delivery. These performances complicate the power dynamics behind the act of inscribing images, and question the idea of authorship in nonfiction representation.

In 2011, revolutionary American choreographer Trisha Brown announced her retirement from the dance company she founded just over forty years prior. Her company paid tribute by embarking on a mammoth international farewell tour, presenting her early works, her traditional stage works and some of the site-specific works that helped define her reputation.

Melbourne Festival 2014 was proud to present the Australian leg of this tour (in part at MPavilion), for which the Trisha Brown Dance Company performed no fewer than seventeen of her brilliant, revolutionary, postmodernist dances.

This short program of Trisha Brown’s early pieces—including Group Primary Accumulation, Sticks I & II and Curl Curve Back Up—offered a bite-sized taste of the grande dame of dance’s works.

Here are Liquid Architecture's Joel Stern and Australian indigenous soprano, actor, composer and playwright Deborah Cheetham AO in conversation as part of MPavilion's inaugural MRelay—our annual conversation relay.

In their conversation, the duo contemplated the role of Dreaming and imagination in the way that we inhabit these spaces and come together. What is the role of dreaming and imagination? Can we envisage a utopian future through dreaming the world awake?

Back in 2014, Slow Art Collective turned #MPavilion into a colourful, playful living studio. The installation – and the series of musical performances that accompanied it – was the first of three instalments of our #OneNightStand series. From Sunday 2 to Wednesday 14 November 2014 we sipped coffee, listened to improvised music and milled around in the evolving installation.

Over the duration of a week, Slow Art Collective—Dylan Martorell and Chaco Kato—had been gradually gathering plant debris from MPavilion’s parkland setting to create an installation in 2014.

A brilliant, colourful scene as sunshine streams through MPavilion 2014's open roof and hits the organic installation.

Tread with care. 'Leaf House Music' turned MPavilion 2014 into a vivid maze of yarn, bamboo poles and plants.

A detail shot inside 'Leaf House Music', featuring hand-spun pots full of the plant debris that Slow Art Collective gathered from MPavilion 2014's surrounding paths and garden beds.

The installation proved to be a great backdrop for a spot of relaxation outside it.

The City of Melbourne's public sculpture 'The Pathfinder (aka the Hammer Thrower)' (1974) doing the legwork here for Leaf House Music.

This live artwork, ambient installation and sonic lullaby provided spaces for everyone to pause, rest and connect.

Joining us for MPavilion's inaugural MRelay was indigenous activist, actor and academic Dr Gary Foley along and contemporary artist Callum Morton.

The first leg of this relay brought the two to consider the object, concept, gesture and act of pavilions as architectural interventions.

M*Sync, MPavilion’s celebration of collective consciousness, returned to MPavilion in 2017 with a focus on love as a contemporary ritual featuring live music, dance and sound performance.

Pictured was the new suspended iteration of Unconscious Collective’s Hypnapod heartbeat syncing installation – used to capture your hearts, and turn them into a love song.

As part of the inaugural MRelay (MPavilion's annual 12-hour marathon of ideas), its first leg was devoted to Pavilions and considered the object, concept, gesture and act of pavilions as architectural interventions. Here are Dan Honey and Callum Morton musing on this session's provocations.

Pictured are Linda Sproul, manager of education and community programs for Museum Victoria and Rob McGauran, urban designer and architect at MGS architects.

They came together for the third iteration of MRelay—MPavilion's annual ideas marathon in 2017. They charted the idea of 'play. Recent decades have seen a rise in playful practices in the public spaces, ranging from street art to skateboarding to parkour. From flash mobs to urban gardening. From performative interventions to location-based digital games. In social frameworks how can play be used as a tool to promote inclusion, and improve and increase life opportunities and boost community morale?

Revisit their chat over at our library page:

The second leg of MRelay 2014 looked at Intimate Publics, and focussed on intimacy and connectivity within the public realm.

What are Intimate Publics? What of our intimate selves do we share in both physical and online social spaces? How do we find places of intimacy and connectivity in the public realm? What are cross-communal informal architectural spaces?

Here's local actress, comedian and radio presenter Jane Kennedy and the Victorian Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley unpacking this delicate brief.

Brisbane-based artist Caitlin Franzmann’s Tree-telling returned to MPavilion in 2017, adding a new divination card and sonic composition to the pack, bringing the deck to the magical number seven.

In Tree-telling, Franzmann deployed hand-crafted divination cards as the trigger for experimental one-on-one encounters between the artist and individual participants.

The seven cards were paired with seven sound compositions, each corresponding to a tree in the Queen Victoria Gardens surrounding the MPavilion: Canary Island Palm, River Red Gum, London Plane, Algerian Oak, Jacaranda, Atlas Cedar and Lilly Pilly. Selecting a card from the deck, visitors embarked on a journey that proceeds from card reading, to a shared walk from MPavilion to their chosen tree and back, to experimental listening session.

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