Neon lights, sculptures and more: This music and arts festival will blow your mind

Neon lights, sculptures and more: This music and arts festival will blow your mind

Words by Sam Howard

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For many years, art and music scenes have been considered somewhat mutually exclusive – art was for galleries, and music performances were for gigs. But with the emergence of creative collectives, crews like Genre Spanner, Tessellate and Cool Room have begun to shift the goal posts and go so much further than the event scene has ever gone before.

This weekend is the second instalment of Something Unlimited – a multidimensional neon-botanical playground that aims to merge the mediums of music and visual art. Located at the 131-year-old Northcote Town Hall, the one-day festival is a showcase that demonstrates how truly artistic and creative the electronic culture of the city is.

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Mikaela Stafford is Something Unlimited’s leading art curator and believes the emergence of combined mediums has a lot to do with Australia’s holistic installation and production values at festivals.

“People are looking for experiences now, not just music. It’s all about having a more experiential engagement with sound, and the visual and sonic qualities of going to an event are so synonymous with each other. It makes so much more sense because both elements marry so well, and it means we can facilitate new ways for media installation and projection-based artists to exhibit outside of a gallery context,” she says.

The design brief for the weekend is “neon florists meet earthly delights”. Visual artists will have their work showcased within eight separate art spaces which will feature experimentations of interactive sound performances with plants, ceiling to floor sculptures, body-based technological projections and ‘60s-meets-futuristic-disco mediums.

There have been great gains in the electronic scene enabling visual artists to flourish, yet Stafford says that sometimes funding often holds growth back. She believes that people within the scene need to truly understand the value of the craft.

“It’s hard to have a practice that’s based on not just time and labour, but materials as well. It’s not always a level ground for visual and music artists. I think you need to have festivals, promoters and organisers that believe in the value of that level of production, and that’s what we’re trying to demonstrate,” she says.

Art curation for the weekend includes Alice Gascoyne, Chris Golden, Rhys Newling, XXFlos, Goodie Goodnow, Victoria Bitter & Prue Brown and more, with musical artists including Adriana, Jazz, Mount Liberation Unlimited, Tiana Khasi, NO ZU, Cable Ties, Gordon Koang and more.

Something Unlimited hits Northcote Town Hall on Saturday February 15. Tix via Eventbrite.