QUEENSTOWN, Australia – The Unconformity, formerly the Queenstown Heritage and Arts Festival, will transform the isolated town of Queenstown on Tasmania’s West Coast this October with a three-day celebration of the region’s community, cultural life and paradoxes.
Following a welcome to country ceremony, The Unconformity will roar into life with The Rumble, a dazzling procession featuring light, music and some of the huge mining machinery of the region. Warm clothing and earplugs are recommended.
The Unconformity will feature a number of premieres. I am a Lake from Mudlark Theatre is a coming of age story set on the west coast, written by Cameron Hindrum. Tasmanian dancer Wendy Morrow performs Geologies, with themes of deep time, lineage and rivers. Fault Traces is a new solo work by percussion artist Matthias Schack-Arnott, who uses subsonic frequencies to trigger visible patterns, while in We Are Mountain, Zoe Scoglio and Mish Grigor invite the audience to join in the eating of a cake mountain as they explore the rugged Queenstown landscape. How to see through fog, a documentary by Thomas Hyland, Sean Fennessy and Glenn Richards that follows the closure of the Mt Lyell copper mine through the eyes of locals will be premiered at The Unconformity.
A range of innovative multimedia events will be featured. Popup radio station Unconformist Radio will provide a subliminal sonic background to the Festival through music, sound art, news and talk, broadcasting on the AM band and at valve-driven ‘wireless hotspots’ around the town. The Singularity is a bespoke smartphone app to help visitors and locals alike engage with some of the dark past of the area, a project that will continue into 2017. Flux will see artists, musicians and poets reclaim an old limestone quarry where bones will be blown and refreshments will be served.
Dark Water is an interactive work from Halcyon Macleod that includes a ride on the West Coast Wilderness Railway and a descent into an old mine for an intimate performance that touches the geology of grief.
West Coast artists are well-represented in the program. Gormanston landscape photographer Shane Viper will open his home to display his work, while the Unconformity Art Trail offers the chance to visit more than twenty west coast artists in their studios, homes and other locations.
The Unconformity will wind up on Sunday afternoon with a west coast tradition – an Aussie Rules football match on ‘The Gravel’; a local team will take on a side of incomers on the infamous gravel sports ground.
Festival Director Travis Tiddy, who grew up in Queenstown and still considers it his home despite living mostly in Hobart, says The Unconformity is a chance for locals and visitors alike to look at Queenstown and the west coast through fresh eyes and to imagine what its future might hold.
“Queenstown has suffered from some pretty bad press over the years. When things were going well, everyone talked about the hills left bare through decades of environmental exploitation; more recently it has been mostly in the news for mine closures and hardship.”
“But there are green shoots of growth, both on the hills around the town and in the renewed interest being shown in the region as tourism grows, new residents move to the region and new investments are made.”
“For those with imagination, boldness and belief in the transformative power of the arts, Queenstown is the perfect place for a festival, and we invite you to visit, experience the region, hitch a ride and share our journey.”
Given the popularity of previous festivals, anyone who wishes to travel to the region to experience it is strongly advised to make accommodation arrangements as soon as possible. Local accommodation and activities and travel bookings and advice is available from the West Coast Visitor Information Centre westernwilderness.com.au
The Unconformity program will be launched at 6pm on Tuesday 30 August.