Jesse Stevens and Dean Peterson create art that is large and interactive but despite its size often falls through the cracks of “traditional” art.
So the Scarsdale artists, known as Cake Industries, have created their own experimental and mechanical arts festival to showcase their work and that of 11 other artists and groups.
Just last week in Warrnambool their creation Crate Expectations, a roaming mechanical sculpture comprising wooden boxes that open and playfully interact with the audience, drew large crowds during the city’s BeachFest.
“It acts as a mechanical theatre show,” Stevens said.
“I love the idea of objects that could approach people in public places in unexpected ways, without being announced, a description or explanation.”
Crate Expectations was originally built for the first White Night Ballarat in 2017 but, like many of their other works, has taken on a life of its own.
“It’s been touring now around Australia for a couple of years, going to lots of different places.
“We like to build works that have a longer life, not just from a sustainability point of view, but we like things that last longer than just a single event … we like them having a life of their own as well.”
A recent career development trip to Germany, where the pair met their heroes in the mechanical art world, made them realise they could create their own niche festival.
“Geographically we are challenged in terms of connecting with people, but in Germany we went to a whole series of amazing festivals that focus on this kind of work.”
The common theme was most of the festivals were artist-led.
“It’s work that doesn’t quite fit in any standard arts realm: it doesn’t fit in galleries, or general festivals, or theatre or performance it straddle all of them at once and has found itself lost in between … and the audience don’t get to see a lot of this work among other works of this type so we wanted to find a way to bring artists like us and their work together.”
When they returned home in October they decided to hold a pilot festival during summer, and Mecha was born.
With backing from Regional Arts Victoria, Golden Plains Shire and other sponsors the inaugural Mecha – Festival of Experimental Art will be held at their Scarsdale property on January 19.
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Twelve artists and groups will take part, with one group coming from Perth.
“There’s no main stage at the festival rather a series of small spaces so all the artists are on equal footing. Works will continue to start and stop and the site will change over the time of the festival.
“At any one time you won’t see all the works function – we expect people will spend at least a few hours.”
Tickets are available at mecha.website.
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