From the Director


Is our art too safe? The 2010 Next Wave Festival brings together more than 300 young artists from Australia and Asia to present new perspectives on risk – from the global to the local, and the deeply personal.

In a world grappling with financial and environmental crises, with worldwide inequalities, and in which the sustainability of our current way of life is under increasing scrutiny, the time seems right for a little creative intervention. Next Wave’s artists have dived headlong into these dilemmas, sometimes offering solutions, sometimes meditations, sometimes witty provocations for us to consider.

Writing on humanity’s essential needs and responsibilities in 1943, Simone Weil claimed risk as “an essential need of the soul.” In recognition of the productive, heightened state that risk produces in us, Weil wrote that “the absence of risk produces a type of boredom which paralyses in a different way from fear, but almost as much.” Over sixty years later, in a world which sometimes seems driven by self-interest, how willing are we to step outside our comfort zones, to consider those outside our immediate experience and ideas that are bigger than our lives?

These are the kind of risks that artists take on a regular basis. Working with minimal resources, courageous ideas, and ever-shifting audiences, they create challenging new works which enable us to question our present realities and imagine new futures. They dare to depart from widely-held and authoritative notions of how we should be, and instead offer new visions of how we could be. In a world obsessed with safety, caution and risk aversion, this task has never been more important. Monumental times call for risky thought, risky actions and, above all, risky art.

The 2010 Next Wave Festival presents an open invitation to take a leap into the unknown, to immerse yourself in strange and wonderful experiences, and to connect with the artists who are shaping our visions of the future. You will find them not only in galleries and theatres, but also on our streets, in sporting clubs, high on rooftops and across a host of Melbourne’s most intriguing public and private spaces. No Risk Too Great!

Jeff Khan Artistic Director