Saturday, February 13th, 2016
Artereal Gallery Artist Q&A

‘connect, create, inspire’ is a new work of socially engaged performance art that will be presented in Martin Place, Sydney on 6 March 2016, from 2-3pm by international artist, Sylvia Schwenk. The project is being created as part of Art Month Sydney with the support of Artereal Gallery.

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest performance connect, create, inspire?

‘connect, create, inspire’ is a celebration of life. The performance is based on simple movements and circular formations that the local community are invited to create with me, the artist, or simply to come and watch.

I will guide and direct everyday people to become performers (no dancing skills required), during a one hour rehearsal immediately before the performance.

Where did the idea or inspiration for this latest performance come from?

This work was conceived in response to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, France.

I want to create a work that celebrates cultural activity. Life is so often best enjoyed when we share experiences, trust others, and create or make things.

My participatory works of performance art are based on the use of simple shapes and movements that are transformed through repetition and unity.

I chose the circle as the basis of this performance because circles represent the ongoing nature of life. The circle is a symbol of inclusion and unity, especially when the lines of the circle don’t quite meet, but continue in an outward and inward direction – as they do in my conception of the work.



When creating performances or interventions such as this one, what is the outcome you are aiming for?

‘connect, create, inspire’ will join performance art and everyday life. Taking art out of the gallery space and into everyday public spaces, such as Martin Place, relocates art from an exclusive and specialised space into the broader community and gives people who do not go to art galleries the opportunity to participate in works of art they otherwise may not experience.


What would you like to achieve with this performance?

The project focuses on social engagement that emphasises collaboration, dialogue, playfulness and audience activation.

I want to draw attention to art, community and relationship building through a work of art that will generate a festive air and good will. There will be a sense of play, inclusiveness and openness.


Can you talk about the importance of documenting ephemeral performances like this one?

Documenting the work allows the project to live beyond the moment of the performance. ‘connect, create, inspire’ will be filmed and photographed and these artworks will be exhibited locally and internationally, including an exhibition at Artereal Gallery in April 2016.

The project will also live on as oral stories and memories of the performers and audience.


How does this performance fit in with the broader scheme of your practice?

Themes of community, communication and the everyday are common threads that run through my practice.

My works of socially engaged performance art are performed in everyday situations as diverse as public spaces, prisons, naval bases, football grand finals, public transport, model airplane fields and art institutions to help build and improve relationships and a sense of community.


Why would you encourage people to participate?

The local community will determine what this artwork will look like. ‘connect, create, inspire’ will not exist without the performers and audience.

People who participate will be able to engage in the unique experience of creating a new work of art in a public space. The project will be a fun, engaging and challenging, all at the same time.

I direct with a fun and light-hearted approach, to engender positive experiences for the performers and audience. My practice is very open and organic and I present this project with the exciting knowledge that the project will evolve and be shaped by working collaboratively with others.

This will be the only work of performance art that I will direct in Sydney this year – I will be in Europe and the US working on other art projects for the rest of the year – so it would be great to see you there!

And what should people do if they are interested in getting involved?

To participate (all ages are invited) RSVP to:

Participants will need to arrive at Martin Place at 1pm for a rehearsal, immediately before the performance.