Urban Theatre Projects (UTP) is delighted to install its surround-sound pavilion, BLAK BOX at Blacktown Showgrounds in the heart of Western Sydney, from 9 January to 2 February 2019, in partnership with Sydney Festival and Blacktown Arts.
The state-of-the-art surround-sound space captured the imagination of Sydney-siders when unveiled earlier this year at Barangaroo and now a brand-new program of works – Four Winds – has been curated by Daniel Browning with elders, young people and musicians from Blacktown, Australia’s most populous First Peoples community. Four Winds draws on the oral history and speculative future of Blacktown and Greater Western Sydney from the perspective to Blacktown Elders and teenagers.
Four Winds explores the need for greater dialogue between younger and older Aboriginal people - both of whose voices can go unheard in the national conversation. Four Winds is both a remembering of the past and a collective vision for the future. The artists, 94 year old elder Uncle Wes Marne, Senior darug Elder Aunty Edna Watson and teens Savarna Russell and Shaun Millwood speak to each other across a silence - a divide or gulf - engaging each other in a dialogue that bridges generational divides. The work is informal and inquisitive, sombre and funny, gentle and insistent, powerfully highlighting the urgent need for all their voices to be heard.
This intimate inter-generational dialogue is led by respected Elders Uncle Wes Marne and Auntie Edna Watson who have lived and worked in Blacktown on Darug country for most of their lives. Curator Daniel Browning deftly weaves the conversation with two young leaders, Savarna Russell and Shaun Millwood, who first met with Uncle Wes and Auntie Edna on a cultural camp. In conversation, they share immense wisdom and explore the joys and challenges of contemporary living. Songwoman, Emma Donovan, whose family have created and made music together for generations in the Blacktown area, will respond to the stories in song with Darug words gifted by Auntie Edna. Emma will collaborate with violinist Eric Avery whose compositions seamlessly merge deep cultural traditions with classical forms. Karen Norris brings her strong design instincts to gently light the deep listening space designed by Kevin O’Brien.
BLAK BOX embraces the First Peoples concept of ‘deep listening’ which is based on stories, silences and the spaces that lie between. It is an innovative model that encourages audiences to step inside BLAK BOX and simply listen to sound, ideas and language from a First Peoples perspective. BLAK BOX utilises cutting-edge surround- sound equipment and production methods enclosed in a space designed by architect Kevin O’Brien to be the perfect space for conversation, in this instance, an inter-generational conversation.
The pavilion — which glows luminously from dusk - straddles sound, creative writing, contemporary architecture and temporary public art. First presented at Barangaroo in Sydney’s CBD in June 2019, the pavilion recently won Silver in the annual DrivenXDesign NOW Awards. Architect Kevin O'Brien hopes Blak Box can act as a mechanism for daydreaming and convey, "an idea of contemporary Aboriginality".
UTP’s Artistic Director, Rosie Dennis says:
“We’re thrilled to be able to share Blak Box with audiences again with our long-term partner Blacktown Arts. Four Winds invites audiences to reflect on what’s lost when generations are disconnected and re-confirms Urban Theatre Projects commitment to supporting First Nation’s artist and cultural leaders to instigate urgent conversations for the community.”
Date: 10 January to 2 February 2019, in partnership with Sydney Festival and Blacktown Arts.
Times: 6:00pm, 7:15pm and 8:30pm
Duration: 55 minute sessions
Blacktown Showground, Richmond Road, Blacktown