ISO12 & CJA of The Futurians performing at Lines Of Flight 2011. Crowd favourites two years ago, they return to close out the 2013 line-up. Photo: Arron Clark.
Kicking off last Thursday, and firing on all cylinders until this Sunday March 24th, the 10th Monster Dunedin Fringe Festival has taken over Dunedin, an annual celebration of art, music, theatre and dance from, well, the fringes. The first Fringe back in 2000 (it was initially a biannual affair) included an event called Lines Of Flight, the last event held in the grand but derelict surrounds of The Athenaeum in the Octagon. Lines Of Flight has remained a two-early Festival Within A Festival, and takes place across four shows in Dunedin & Port Chalmers this weekend. In anticipation of this, I got a few words in with local musician and current curatorial figurehead Peter Porteous.
"The first Lines of Flight was curated by [local artists] Peter Stapleton and Kim Pieters, and in some ways acted as a chance to showcase musicians who had released records on the Metonymic and Corpus Hermeticum labels, both South Island free noise labels. Over the subsequent 13 years the brief has widened to reflect the experimental examples of other genres; electronics, outsider song-based rock, jazz and techno whilst still representing the free noise makers."
While ostensibly a music festival, Lines Of Flight has always had its toes in cinematic waters. The 2011 programme included film by Campbell Walker and the spun wool proto-motion pictures of Sign Of The Hag, for example. What can we look for in this year's programme that deviates into this territory?
"About half of the acts have film as part of their performance. Kim Pieters has a film to accompany the otherworldly sounds of Omit, and acts like Eye, Murderbike and The Futurians have all made their own films."
This year's line-up finishes with Murderbike followed by The Futurians, established party bands of the 2000s City Rise Scene. The experimental music scene often gets painted as an all-too-serious old boy's club. Is this scheduling a response to this in some way? That it is okay to have fun and be arty at the same time?
"We had The Futurians last time and it was a great way to finish the festival. We had also wanted to have Murderbike for a few years. When we were finalising the lineups for each night, we took a long time trying to find a slot for Murderbike, and next to the Futurians seemed to make the most sense, apart from the fact that Iso has to play twice in a row!. The scheduling has changed because we have slowly expanded the range of music to keep the festival fresh. Yes, art doesn’t have to be serious!"
Over the history of Lines Of Flight, who would you say have been the biggest coup for you as programmer, and who is still on your aspirational list?
The first time Omit played was a coup, as he had never performed live before that. He's playing again this year. The Dead C in 2009 was exciting. Generally everybody we ask says yes, and we are bombarded with requests to play which makes it difficult. We have had trouble getting Roy Montgomery to play, though he did play in 2004 as part of the Torlesse Supergroup), as the Fringe clashes with his work. Maybe next time. I would love Nigel Bunn to play one day, I have been trying for 8 years now!"
Lines Of Flight is happening from Thursday March 21 - Saturday March 24 at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Chick's Hotel (Port Chalmers) and The Anteroom (Port Chalmers). The full timetable can be found here, and allow me to recommend to you the beautiful experimental guitars of Greg Malcolm, the legendary lullabies of Arts Foundation Laureate Alastair Galbraith and the turntable drones / surf-rock drums / Tuvan throat singing of Wellington's The All Seeing Hand.
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