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– by Kristen Augeard
Photos by Adam Thomas

Saturday at the Nishi Gallery in New Acton saw Sense: An Audio Journey (http://www.newacton.com.au/sense). For an event that ran for eleven hours (tack on a six hour after party, too), there was no shortage of talent throughout the show.

The event kicked off at one o’clock with some light piano by Adam Cook, followed by thirty minutes of poetry: deep-sea Santa Clause and an animal-focus by Aaron Kirby, Brian O’Biri-Asare on his life in the Northern Territory and national champion, CJ Bowerbird, dressed for old-worldly travel, brandishing a suitcase tied to his wrist and accompanied by cello and piano riffs. Rolling on from that was the genius of Finnigan and brother who performed poetry set to experimental guitar. Followed by world-renowned trumpeter, Miroslav Bukovsky, and his contemporary jazz trio. Sense Audio Journey

In the lead up to headliner, Max Cooper, the audience was treated to a fantastic odyssey of sound by Gabriel Gilmour and Michael Liu, a unique combination of electronica and electric violin. Of course, the Max Cooper set was outstanding – crisp, intricate and perfect to dance to. One could enjoy the show from inside the gallery, or if it was all a bit too much, the music was piped into the garden outside, for those willing to brave the rapidly falling temperature.

As the night darkened and the kids were taken home to bed, the gallery transformed into an AV wonderland. Live projections on the walls, created by Dark Mountain (RTFM) and Miskleletic, accompanied the progressive techno sounds of Gabriel Gilmour and a 3 hour set of live intelligent dance music by Hypnagog. Sense was based on a philosophy of exploring patterns of existence through music, art and spoken word, with the hope of silencing the mind and allowing the attendee to get lost in the sensory experience. The crowd was an eclectic mix, but the vibe was the same: Everyone was there to enjoy themselves, peacefully, whether they were regular-goers of experimental events or first timers who had fallen down the rabbit hole by accident.

Events like this are dirtying up the pristine complex that is the NewActon Arts and Cultural Precinct, in the best way possible. By subsiding ticket prices, NewActon is expanding beyond the expected clientele, such that even lowly university students have the opportunity to experience world-class musicians in amongst exquisite landscaped gardens and edgy architecture.

Whether there as a family for the daytime performances, or hanging around late into the night dancing under the ethereal lights – it was impossible not to feel completely immersed in this little world of equanimity. This ambitious project proved to be a great success; both the curators and the artists involved deserve much praise.

Kristen is in the 43rd year of her Arts degree at ANU, majoring in something and something else – she’s enjoying Canberra life way too much to remember. She is also the Podcasting Manager for ANU’s student newspaper, Woroni.

This review has also been published, in partnership, on the Woroni website.

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