Polyphony is a state in which we hear many different voices, in their full texture, simultaneously (poly=many + phonos=voices). It is a sonic concept with much artistic and social potential; to make difference audible, to choreograph dissonance, and to explore the harmonies produced when we bring voices together (and apart) in shared space.
Polyphonic Social 2019 brings experimental sound, performance and installation to the Convent’s historic North Magdalen Laundry across two consecutive nights.At the heart of the program is a powerful eight-speaker sound system, deployed by artists to articulate the cavernous acoustic space of the building in uncanny, immersive, and unexpected ways.
Friday 18 October, 8 – 11pm
Phew, Anthony Pateras, Erikm & Sage PBBBT
Friday evening’s concert features legendary Japanese electro-punk auteur Phew making her Australian debut more than 40 years after arriving on the Osaka scene as the singer in avant-noise band Aunt Sally. Australian composer, pianist and electronic musician Anthony Pateras and French experimentalist eRikm will collaborate on a set of ‘free concrète music inscribed firmly in the present’. And finally, Sage pbbbt's extra-normal vocal techniques will conjure chaos magick via a feminist, queer and trans praxis of air, lungs, vocal folds, lips and room.
Saturday 19 October, 3 – 6pm
Natasha Tontey, Sarah CrowEST & Zou Zhao
Saturday afternoon’s performance program features Indonesian artist, coder and horror-aficionado Natasha Tontey, whose work uses shift-jis images (an early-internet Japanese graphic prototype of the emoji) as scores for improvisation. Chinese Singaporean artist Zou Zhao will perform a new work, continuing her investigation into the role of language in the neo-colonial distribution of knowledge today. British Australian artist Sarah crowEST will present the first experimental showing of her text-score project for multiple performers.
Saturday 19 October, 8 – 11pm
Chino Amobi, Nina Buchanan, Lucreccia Quintanilla & Bryan Phillips
Nigerian American sound-artist, writer and founder of NON Worldwide, Chino Amobi will headline Saturday evening’s concert with an experimental performance incorporating elements from his acclaimed albums Airport Music For Black Folk and Paradiso and his new novel Eroica. Melbourne-based electronic artist Nina Buchanan's new performance will explore queer, feminist methodologies through the prism of deep listening. Salvadoran Australian sound artist Lucreccia Quintanilla and Chilean Australian musician Bryan Phillips will band together to present an experimental audio essay exploring multiple histories of protest and noise.
Polyphonic Social is an annual Liquid Architecture project presented by Abbotsford Convent Foundation. It is framed by the proposition that artists practice polyphony in vastly expanded and experimental ways.
ARTISTS: Phew, Anthony Pateras and erikM, Nina Buchanon, Lucrecia Quintanilla and Bryan Phillips, Zou Zhao, Natasha Tontey, Sarah CrowEST, Sage Pbbbt
LIQUID ARCHITECTURE: Joel Stern, Georgia Hutchison, Debris Facility
PRODUCTION: Lauren Squire MOTION DESIGN: Benjamin Portas
Polyphonic Social is supported by City of Yarra. Liquid Architecture is supported by the Australia Council for the Arts, Creative Victoria, City of Melbourne and City of Yarra.
Respecting and Acknowledging the Convent’s Past
Stage 1 restoration works in the Magdalen Laundry were completed in June 2019. The Magdalen Laundry provides a space for artists, audiences and communities to experience new practices, narratives and histories, while respecting the heritage and social history of these spaces.
The Convent was inscribed on the National Heritage List in August 2017, with the Magdalen Laundry and asylum buildings recognised as an important physical record for those Australians and their families known as the Forgotten Australians. The Convent’s place on the National Heritage List will help protect the site’s future for generations to come, while honouring and respecting those who were affected by its past. You can learn more by joining one of our guided social history tours or by taking a self-guided walk (available via web browser and visitor app), which includes an oral history recording from Trish, a former resident who also worked in the Magdalen Laundry.