Youth Vs Physics. Photo by Matthew Harding.
‘Wave caution goodbye ... Odd hours, strange locations, risky business: this year’s Next Wave festival for emerging artists gives the nanny state plenty of reason to grab the smelling salts.’ - Michelle Griffin, The Age

Every two years Next Wave puts on the Next Wave Festival - Australia’s largest and most intriguing festival for young emerging contemporary artists. In our recent Festival in May, more than 160,000 people got involved, and we presented 50+ edgy and arresting projects across Melbourne. We showcased art projects at the MCG, ACMI, Federation Square, Melbourne Museum, the NGV as well as dozens of small galleries, arts spaces, laneways and obscure public spaces. Mounting new, popular and critical art in public spaces is difficult to pull off, and this fact alone gives our Festival a thrilling edge.

No Risk Too Great
13-30 May 2010

Subversive gender and defiant sexuality. Apocalyptic fantasies. Busby Berkeley murders. One-on-one encounters. Protest and activism. Local hazards and monotonous labour. The raw, the messy and the unfinished. Science, religion, truth and death…

The 2010 Next Wave Festival was a critical and popular success, enticing more than 160,000 people to interact with the Festival: 120,000+ in person and 40,000+ online. This was an increase on recent Festival attendances, and featured a greater number of interstate and online visitors.

300+ artists
53 projects
50 venues across Melbourne, and online

Every Next Wave Festival is a new adventure. There’s no rinse and repeat here. For 2010 we went for more risky projects; projects that weren’t necessarily risk for risky sake, but explored the idea of risk and how risk is perceived and managed in a risk-adverse society. The Festival’s theme was No Risk Too Great. Many Festival projects in 2010 took longer to develop, involved more people and were logistically more complex than things we’d done before: two large all-day art events at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and the George Knott Athletics StadiumWestern Australian artist Bennett Miller constructed a replica of the United Nations House of Assembly outside Melbourne Museum; Next Wave partnered with a downtown shopping centre to present two nights of art on the top of Melbourne Central; worked with eleven artist run initiatives from across Australia and Asia to build multiple art installations inside the main hall of the North Melbourne Meat Market building.

The 2010 Next Wave Festival Theme: No Risk Too Great
The 2010 Next Wave Festival explored the role of risk in a risk-averse culture. Under pressure to conform, we have all become experts in micro-managing our own behaviour. But is this self-surveillance distracting us from the bigger risks, the more un-manageable ones which are increasingly – and radically – changing our world? Just what does “risk” actually mean in these volatile times?

In a wider culture of risk management, how prepared are we to make decisions that are brave, courageous or transgressive? Where is the line between our own personal, moral and ethical worlds, and the codes and principles which circulate in the broader context of contemporary culture? What is our capacity to draw, hold or cross this line? What are the real risks of our time, what are the risks worth taking, and what is our role as individuals, and as artists, in relation to them? How can we act boldly and imaginatively, in art and in life? - Jeff Khan, Next Wave Artistic Director 2006 to 2010

‘Eking out the city’s edgiest nooks and undiscovered crannies for its latest theme, the Next Wave festival promises that “no risk is too great”, no zone too uncomfortable, no unknown too unknown to step into.’ - Ray Edger, The Age

Hole in the Wall. Photo by Jorge de Araujo.
Some of Australia’s most outstanding young emerging artists, at the most pivotal stage in the careers, presented large-scale works for the Festival. Festival artists were selected after a nation-wide call for proposals, by a curatorial advisory committee which spanned multiple art forms and expertise. This committee was overseen by the artistic director, who also oversaw the curation and commissioning of keynote and special projects, under the curatorial banner of the Festival theme. Artists also came through Next Wave’s Kickstart program in 2009.

The Festival was launched by the Lord Mayor of Melbourne Robert Doyle and by the Victorian Arts Minister Peter Batchelor at a new art space called Slot 9 deep under Federation Square.

‘... it’s a particularly supple take on notions of art – a world away from painting, arbitrary objects and well-lit gallery spaces.' - Dan Rule, The Age