Magnified, Sanctified at Polyphonic Social

Australia’s never been particularly religiously fervent.

Which is a shame, in some respects.

The pretension, the delusion and the ridiculous costuming are undeniably entertaining.

And there’s something vaguely thrilling about the heavy air of shame and the worshipping at an altar that floats over a swirling mass of corruption, pain and centuries of wilful ignorance in favour of rampant abuses of power that speaks to humanity’s deeply rooted child-like desire to be the safe, caged submissive in a relationship with an all-knowing dominant.

Also, free biscuits.

But without the ball and chain of religion, intellectual pursuits have been allowed to flourish, at least to a greater degree.

And so we, as a society, have discovered a new, meatier glut of pretension, delusion, ridiculous costuming, deep shame and imposed ignorance upon which to gorge our fat little toddler bodies: contemporary new media art.

Yes, Polyphonic Social is returning for 2019.

It unfolds across three events, occupying Abbotsford Convent’s historic, recently restored Magdalen Laundry with experimental sound, performance, and installation.

While the program’s heart beats conceptually, its skeleton structure is a powerful multi speaker-stack sound system, which will be deployed by artists to articulate the cavernous space of the industrial building in uncanny, immersive, and unexpected ways.

Saturday afternoon’s performance program features Indonesian punk coder, designer and horror-aficionado Natasha Tontey presenting new work Church of Xenoglossia. First developed as part of Instrument Builders Project Kyoto, the project employs early-internet proto-emoji language Shift JIS in scores for improvisation.

Chinese Singaporean artist Zou Zhao will be apologising on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party as part of her continuing investigation into language and neocolonial knowledge today.

British Australian artist Sarah CrowEST will present the first experimental showing of her open-source text-score project Sound Seen, for multiple performers.

This is 2019 and they’ve synthesised the religious drug into something much more potent.

That should compensate for the lack of free biscuits.

Fake allergies is contemporary new media art’s version of speaking in tongues.

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