Towards The Light Show

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One of Hugh McSpedden’s hand-made glass slides. (c) Hugh McSpedden, courtesy of the artist.

Mid-May I’d produced a small event at the St Andrews Hall in rural Victoria. Can Video Art Save The World was a retrospective of experimental Super 8 and video going back to the very early 1980’s. The event also featured the legendary projection artist, Hugh McSpedden, who talked us through some of the more curious projection devices he had modified and used in years gone by.

A brief demonstration of some of his work, including a screening of a very early 8mm film of his shot at one of the first outdoor rock music festivals in the country, was accompanied by live, improvised music performed by Chip Wardale, David Nerlich and myself. Both Chip and David contributed their own early Super 8 films to the screening, a large part of the program taken up by David’s extensive catalogue, films that were screened around the globe at the time.

Chip and I thought the format so compelling, and with Hugh eager to do this kind of project again, we decided to pull together another show featuring Hugh almost entirely. We called it The Light Show.

As it turns out, The Light Show, now a Melbourne Fringe event, is doing a few things that ain’t been done before.

  1. We’ve managed to bring a Melbourne Fringe event out to the Nillumbik Shire, to the rural Victorian community of St Andrews to stage The Light Show within the very well equipped St Andrews Hall.
  2. We’re providing punters with a rare opportunity to hear and learn from one of the legends of Australian performing arts, from the iconic psychedelia of the 1960s right through to the outdoor rave scene that Hugh has been influential in creating vast and spectacular projections.
  3. And finally, though not quite a first for this kind of event, but unique in Hugh’s career, we’re documenting each performance, both at St Andrews Hall and at the Sacred Heart Chapel, Abbotsford Convent, with a view to producing an entirely avant-garde documentary on Hugh’s life’s work.

We’ve also combined the musical talents of Steve Law, Kate Adam, Chip and myself towards a new kind of ensemble, Sun-Bus-5, to perform structured improvisations during a showcase of Hugh’s projection work.

Oh, and The Light Show opens with a 40 minute or so screening of experimental films from my personal collection, honouring the work of Sydney and Melbourne artists that have influenced my own practice.

The Light Show is an entirely independent production and as such we’ve been raising basic production costs through a campaign page on Pozible. That’s a first for both Chip and I, to be reaching out to punters for their support and we’ve been amazed and humbled by the response. People really do want to support their artists!

Check out our trailer:

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