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A person wears a conical hat painted like a UFO with aliens. The background is a mish mash of similarly coloured pop culture references.

RISING: The Blak Infinite

Free
First Peoples
Installation
This is a past event
Free
First Peoples
Installation

Dates

1 June-16 June 2024

Venues

The Atrium
Main Square

Access

Lift access
Wheelchair accessible

Getting There

Fed Square becomes a constellation of art and stories that share First Peoples futures, connections to the cosmos, and political discourse.

The Blak Infinite is a site for sharing First Peoples connections to the cosmos, political constellations and futures.

Across Fed Square, experience large-scale installations, new commissions and conversations by leading First Nations artists and writers. Journey through sovereign political and environmental movements, perceptions of belonging and alienation, and the stories in the stars.

Anchoring The Blak Infinite is Richard Bell’s (Kamilaroi, Kooma, Jiman and Gurang Gurang) EMBASSY—inspired by the original Aboriginal Tent Embassy, pitched on the grounds of Canberra’s Parliament House in 1972. Bell’s installation continues the politically driven work of First Peoples, featuring daily film screenings and a program of talks with activists, writers and artists every Saturday of the festival.

Immersive nighttime projections by Tarryn Love (Gunditjmara Keerray Woorroong) will light up each evening in the square, sharing stories of Sky Country and the cosmos, and transporting you into celestial knowledge. Tony Albert’s (Girramay, Yidinyji and Kuku Yalanji) large-scale artwork BEAM ME UP The Art of Abduction immerses us in themes of alienation, belonging, and place through colourful installations and a children’s program.

Artworks and texts across the site explore the infinite possibility of First Peoples futures. The big screen features speculative fiction from acclaimed writer Ellen van Neerven (Mununjali Yugambeh and Dutch), expanding the limits of current realities. Artist Kait James (Wadawurrung) uses collage to subvert the loaded visual language of 70s souvenirs, while Michael Cook (Bidjara) creates fantasy worlds where the role of invader and invaded are reversed. Josh Muir’s (Gunditjmara, Yorta Yorta and Barkindji) supersized artwork reminds us to reach for the stars, and imagine our wildest dreams coming true.

These works across the square offer alternate narratives and ways of seeing the world, and collectively speak to the unlimited sovereign connections held across communities in Australia.

The Blak Infinite is curated by Kimberley Moulton (Yorta Yorta) (Shadow Spirit, 2023) and Kate ten Buuren (Taungurung). Kimberley and Kate would like to acknowledge the immense impact Josh Muir had on Australian contemporary art and Koorie Victoria. We honour his legacy and encourage people to visit his current solo exhibition at the Koorie Hertiage Trust Melbourne. Rest in power and love Josh, forever Deadly.

Further details for the Josh Muir exhibition at Koorie Heritage Trust: JXSH MVIR FOREVER I LIVE

Fed Square and RISING present The Blak Infinite, co-curated by Kimberley Moulton (Yorta Yorta) and Kate ten Buuren (Taungurung).

The Blak Infinite Artworks

Tony Albert: Crop Circles in Yogya #5 and BEAM ME UP The Art of Abduction

Daily, 24 hours | The Atrium and The Atrium Facade

Aliens have invaded the Atrium in this installation by Tony Albert (Girramay, Yidinyji and Kuku Yalanji) and his collaborator ENOKi. The alien is a common recurring symbol within Tony’s practice, and he uses pop culture iconography as a way of reflecting on and understanding difference.

Richard Bell: EMBASSY

Daily, various times | Main Square

A free First Nations-led space for forging alternate futures and dialogue in support of Aboriginal rights.

Tarryn Love: ngaka - look here

Daily, 6pm-11pm | projections in Main Square

Immerse yourself in Tarryn Love’s (Gunditjmara Keerray Woorroong) animations every night at Fed Square. ngaka – look here reflects on the connection between the Earth and the Cosmos. Brought to life in collaboration with Studio Gilay, the artwork invites you to look and learn from the stories held within the stars.

Michael Cook: Invasion

Daily, 24 hours | Main Square

Michael Cook’s (Bidjara) Invasion series imagines an alternate version to Australia’s colonial history by speculating on what the world would look like if the roles of coloniser and colonised were reversed.

Ellen van Neerven: Shoutlines and yaburuhma dugun (always sky)

Daily, 24 hours | Big Screen

Two new text commissions by Ellen van Neerven (Mununjali, Yugambeh and Dutch) take over the Big Screen, speculating on the limitless futures of First Peoples. During the day, the screen will be in a constant flow of information. In this text that shouts to us like news headlines, Ellen declares that we are on post-apocalyptic land, and that First Peoples are not only key to this land’s past, but also to its future.

Josh Muir: Bellow with Pride Don't Hide

Daily, 24 hours | Swanston St Forecourt

In the late Josh Muir’s (Gunditjmara, Yorta Yorta and Barkindji) painting, a figure stands, freestyling on top of a world where gum trees frame the cityscape and expand beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.

Kait James: Take Me to Your Weaver, Alienation and Invaders, Game Over

Daily, 24 hours | Swanston St Forecourt

By embroidering onto 1970s souvenir tea towels depicting stereotypes of First Peoples, Kait James (Wadawurrung) reclaims outdated imagery and offers alternate realities to invasion. Indigenous people fight back against invaders and win, aliens abduct people who don’t belong from the land, and a visitor asks to be taken to your leader.

The Blak Infinite Talks

The Blak Infinite Talks

2 June, various times | The Atrium and The Edge

Hear from the artists and curators as they discuss their work and themes of Sovereign political movements, stories of the stars and spaces of belonging and alienation that underpin The Blak Infinite.

The Blak Infinite Workshops

BEAM ME UP Spaceship Workshop

1, 8 & 15 June, 11am-3pm | The Atrium

Join in the fun of Tony Albert’s BEAM ME UP, The Art Of Abduction, in a series of workshops for children and adults. In this workshop young ones can create their own wearable spaceships, bringing to life the aliens that are visiting Melbourne over RISING.

BEAM ME UP Beading Workshop

2 June, 11.30am-12.30pm | The Atrium

Those aged 7 and over can participate in a beading workshop led by Tony Albert and his collaborator ENOKi, and take home your very own wearable out-of-this-world adornment. But be quick – spots are limited!

Image credits:
Crop Circles in Yogya #5, 2016-17, courtesy the artist and Sullivan + Strumpf.
INVASION (UFO POSSUMS), 2017, by Michael Cook. Courtesy of Jan Murphy Gallery and THIS IS NO FANTASY.
BEAM ME UP The Art of Abduction, 2024, courtesy the artist and Sullivan + Strumpf.
EMBASSY. Courtesy Milani Gallery and the artist
Alienation, Take Me To Your Weaver and Invaders Gameover by Kait James. Courtesy of the artist.
Josh Muir (Gunditjmara, Yorta Yorta, Barkindji), Bellow with Pride Don’t Hide, c.2012, synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 91 x 100 cm. Collection of Forest Street Primary School, Wadawurrung Country (Wendouree). Gift of Josh Muir, 2012. Photo: Christian Capurro. Courtesy of Koorie Heritage Trust, Justine Berg and Shanaya Sheridan.