The Arts

Oct 12, 2012

Festival’s artistic laboratory a hive of all-star talent

The HIVE Lab is an innovative experiment in connecting some of Australia's most interesting artists. And there's a history of artistic result.

Ben Eltham — <em>Crikey</em> arts commentator

Ben Eltham

Crikey arts commentator

What do you get when you put Bill Henson, Lally Katz, Eddie Perfect, Sophie Raymond, Cat Jones and Natasha Pincus in a room together -- plus another dozen artists, directors, writers, filmmakers and producers? We'll find out at the end of this weekend, at the completion of the HIVE Lab as part of the Melbourne Festival. The HIVE Lab -- an initiative of the Adelaide Film Festival, Screen Australia, South Australian Film Corporation, ABC TV and the Australia Council for the Arts -- is a kind of mix-and-match artistic collaboration hothouse, bringing together 18 of Australia's brightest talents across the worlds of film, theatre, art and literature. The aim is to "stimulate the development of new work for cinema and TV that is shaped and crafted by an artistic vision and process, ideally with new creative partnerships". Each of the presenting bodies has pledged $200,000 towards the program. The full list of talent is impressive: Henson, Perfect, Dr Brenda Croft, Sam Haren, Daniel Koerner, Rachael Swain, Jones, Katz, Sean Riley, Samantha Lang, Raymond, Sascha Ettinger Epstein, Paola Morabito, Nassiem Valamanesh, Eddie White, Pincus, Lucinda Clutterbuck, John Gillies, plus artist Lynette Wallworth, producer Bridget Ikin, Andrew Bovell, Michael Kantor and ABC development executive Robert Hutchinson. The lab will be led by Wendy Levy, executive director of the US arts consultancy New Arts Axis. You could say this is all an exercise in name-dropping and "super-group" style star collaboration. But that doesn't seem to be the vibe coming from participants. Playwright Katz, for instance, told Crikey yesterday "there's some really interesting people there" and that "it's really fun". "Usually I write for theatre, so I guess it's about getting people to try different mediums," she said. "I've written some television episodes and a bit of stuff, but yeah not that much really." "We heard about everybody's ideas today which were all really exciting, and really different. They were all people that I've certainly heard about, and so it's exciting to be in a room with everyone."

(left to right) Eddie Perfect, HIVE Lab leader Wendy Levy and Eddie White

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