Top 10 Sydney Culture On this week 08/03/2020

Accept your fate.


10) AI and the Bias of Machines: Robert Elliott Smith

9th March

What: How do we stop the internet making bigots of us all? We live in a world increasingly ruled by technology, finding comfort in the idea that this technology is free of prejudice; only its users are fallible. But don’t be so sure, warns author and scholar Robert Elliott Smith. In his book, Rage Inside the Machine: The Prejudice of Algorithms, and How to Stop the Internet Making Bigots of Us All, the 30-year veteran in artificial intelligence challenges the long-held assumption that technology is amoral and apolitical. Join Robert Elliott Smith as he shines a light on how we’re increasingly being constrained by algorithms – being forced to adapt to technology rather than adapting technology to suit us. Presenting a compelling account of how we got here, Smith treads a fine line between indignation at what can happen and recognition of the scale of technological achievements. As an eminent computer scientist and machine learning pioneer, Smith reveals how new thinking and research can help us keep our sanity and our humanity.

Why: Don’t listen to him. He’s obviously biased. Listen to us. We’re telling you to listen to him.


9) Exhibition Launch: Paul Jennings UNREAL

13th March

What: Explore the Paul Jennings: UNREAL! exhibition at the launch event. This exhibition includes giant story props (including a lighthouse and a dunny!), fan letters and original illustrations. Settle in for the opportunity to create your own Gizmo and learn more about Paul Jennings’ creative process.

Why: No of course he won’t be there. He’s a millionaire. Of which one of the great advantages is not having to be around your children.


8) The Science of Fate: Hannah Critchlow

10th March

What: The concept of fate has been around since the ancient Greeks, inspiring literature and folklore for thousands of years. However, the science of fate is just getting started. In her new book The Science of Fate: Why Your Future is More Predictable Than You Think, internationally acclaimed neuroscientist Hannah Critchlow explores the current state of neurological and genomic research. She breathes new life into the concept of fate by situating it at the core of what we all increasingly believe makes us who we are – the brain. Drawing vividly from everyday life, Critchlow illustrates just how much our decisions – from what we eat, to whom we love, to how we vote – are hardwired and predetermined by genetics. This fascinating talk will challenge everything we know about ourselves, as well as empowering us to help shape a better future.

Why: Go to this. Don’t go to this.


7) Messums on Tour (Preview)

8th March

What: Messums Wiltshire returns to Mary Place, Sydney, for a group exhibition featuring some of the best international artists across genres, including landscape, figurative and abstract painting as well as sculpture and works of art in glass and ceramic. Tuesday Riddell (whose family live in Australia) will exhibit for the first time down under alongside Australian favourite Bruce Munro who is best known for his world famous light installation ‘Field of Light’ at Uluru. Bruce will be exhibiting his new two-dimensional abstract works depicting Australian landscapes. Also exhibiting will be sculptor Laurence Edwards, who returns to Mary Place following his previous sell-out show in 2018, and English painter Kurt Jackson, who has just had two consecutive sell-out exhibitions in the UK. The work of Albert Paley, one of the world’s greatest metalworkers, and in the National Gallery of Victoria already will be shown here for the first time.

Why: Your five-in-one horse pill of contemporary art.


6) Kite Flying Festival

14th March

What: Held as part of Sydney’s series of free, family-friendly, smoke-free and alcohol-free events, the Kite Flying Festival will give people the chance to experience a sea of colour as kites of all shapes and sizes fly above the foreshore. Kites featuring mermaids, Batman, superheroes, flying fish, dragons, aliens, lady bugs, elephants, parrots, butterflies and lions will all take flight during the festival from Don Lucas Reserve. Enjoy a live DJ, food stalls and trucks, kids rides, roving entertainment, face painting, henna tattooing and craft stalls.

Why: Feel your worries drift away in the toxic jet-fuel slipstream of a low-flying traffic helicopter.


5) Ocean Film Festival

10th & 11th March

What: Each year the Ocean Film Festival World Tour will screen over 2 hours of the most inspirational, educational and entertaining films related to the ocean from independent filmmakers both international and Australian. The tour kicks off in March before travelling around Australia before heading around the globe. The Ocean Film Festival World Tour includes a unique selection of films of varying lengths and styles covering topics such as the oceanic environment, marine creatures, ocean-related sports, coastal cultures and ocean lovers.

Why: Sure to be a worthy memory in ten years when the oceans are a hot chemical stew of sick toxic mutants.


4) Short+Sweet Theatre

8th March-26th April

What: The biggest little play festival will be returning once again with a smorgasbord of 10-minute plays to delight your tastebuds, with hundreds of talented actors, writers and directors showcasing their skills and bringing you a wonderful season of short theatre. The Short+Sweet festival is a wonderful tool for writers, directors and actors who want to share their voice and talent in a professional environment and venue. The festival multiplies participants’ raw and creative energy, with different ensembles, directors and writers exchanging ideas, learning from each other and providing creative inspiration.

Why: They’ve somehow managed to make a shorter run-time in live theatre more indie. This truly is the golden age of humanity.


3) Vivaldi in the Park

13th March

What: Enjoy a free concert to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Council’s popular Twilight Concerts. The Lurline Chamber Orchestra will present a program of classical and popular music from Vivaldi to Gershwin. Two Australian composers will feature including a world premiere of a brand new work by Samuel Cottell, and the beautiful Rotation of the Earth by Stuart Greenbaum. Curious Legends will bring their unique brand of shadow puppet theatre, lending light and shade to this rare and delightful performance. Bring your picnic rug and enjoy supper as the sun sets.

Why: Shadow puppets, live opera and a free child-friendly performance. There’s a certain comfort in knowing absolutely no one’s going to be entirely happy.


2) Shen Yun Live 

8th-22nd March

What: Shen Yun Performing Arts is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company. For 5,000 years, divine culture flourished in the land of China. Through breathtaking music and dance, Shen Yun is reviving this glorious culture. Shen Yun performance features the world’s foremost classically trained dancers, a unique orchestra blending East and West, and dazzling animated backdrops—together creating one spectacular performance. Through music and dance, Shen Yun weaves a wondrous tapestry of heavenly realms, ancient legends, and modern heroic tales, taking you on a journey through 5,000 years of Chinese culture. Taking inspiration from ancient heroic legends and modern courageous tales, the breathtaking beauty of Shen Yun is leaving millions around the world in awe. Experience the extraordinary! Experience Shen Yun.

Why: Their passion is contagious according to both your most progressive friend and your most racist relative.


1) Biennale of Sydney

14th March-8th June

What: The 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), titled NIRIN (the Wiradjuri word for “edge”), is artist and First Nations–led, presenting an expansive free exhibition of contemporary art that connects local communities and global networks. Australian artists and collectives including The Mulka Project, Tony Albert, Karla Dickens, First Dog on the Moon, Pedro Wonaeamirri, and Iltja Ntjarra / Namatjira School of Art will be joined by international artists. There will be work by artists including Lhola Amira (South Africa), Tarek Atoui (Lebanon/France), Denilson Baniwa (Brazil), Tania Bruguera (Cuba), Vajiko Chachkhiani (Georgia/Germany) and Aziz Hazara (Afghanistan). Artists from a number of other nations including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Papua Guinea, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Turkey and Sudan will also show works. Chef Kylie Kwong will also participate in the festival. This year the Biennale will present Nirin Wir, a program that will encompass the area from the Blue Mountains in Sydney’s west to La Perouse in the city’s south-east. It will focus on Sydney as an expansive global city made up of complex, dynamic villages. It’ll include site activations, performances, residencies and collaborations based around innovation, the melding of ideas and new ways of exploring the world.

Why: Once every two years in Sydney, a magical thing happens. Just by standing in an area contained within the boundaries of the Blue Mountains and La Perouse and appearing pensive, your intellectual, cultural and artistic cachet suddenly swells like the balls of an unhygienic cyclist.


Special Mention 

Blue Mountains Music Festival

13th-15th March

What: The Blue Mountains Music Festival is a three day festival of folk, roots and blues music, featuring over 110 concerts, as well as songwriters’ and instrumental circles, Heartland Conversations, Poet’s Breakfasts, Kid’s Activities, roaming performers and much more. Australian performers include the multi ARIA award-winning singer songwriters John Butler and Kasey Chambers, Oz blues legends the Backsliders, blues and roots trio 19-Twenty and the irreverent antics of The Sandman and Flacco.

Why: There’s nothing better for a recently fire-ravaged region than the lukewarm milk bath that is John Butler and Kasey Chambers.

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