Words by Arabella Peterson
“We envisioned shift happening in 2020......”
For most of us, it’s hard to find the motivation to put on pants every day, let alone launch a creative project in isolation (and that’s okay!). Luckily, Australia’s creative community has pulled through with some projects that will entertain, inspire and most importantly, distract us during this bizarre time. It’s not easy to make lemonade from the awful, awful lemons 2020 handed us. Still, musicians, artists, filmmakers and comedians alike are finding new and innovative ways to express their talents from home. Here are some of the most exciting creative projects that have come out of self-isolation in Australia.
Self-isolation has hit musicians hard, but the industry has banded together to create something genuinely uplifting. Launched as a fundraiser for non-profit organisation Support Act, Emily Ulman, Rhiannon Atkinson-Howatt and Shannen Egan wrangled 74 acts for the socially distanced music festival. Each artist played a 20-minute set from their home, providing a sense of community and solidarity in uncertain times. Tune into the next Isol-Aid festival or donate via their website.
Heaps Gay Social Club
Heaps Gay is an inclusive community offering (extremely fun) events and online content. In light of the current situation, they’ve set up a Facebook group with workshops, art sessions and DJ sets by their favourite artists and friends. On top of that, they’re live-streaming a party straight to your lounge room every Friday night. Join the soiree—do you have anywhere else to be?
I So Trivia
Eliza Reilly, one half of our favourite comedic duo, and her partner James are hosting virtual trivia while in isolation. Each bringing six years of trivia hosting experience to the table, take the stress out of organising and hosting your own online pub trivia with friends, family or colleagues and let them do it for you! They can supply prizes and cater to any theme of your choice; they might even throw in a few musical performances.
Freckle TV is an Australian digital media company and content creation studio focused on diversity. Founded by creative all-rounder Yemisul AKA Olivia Suleimon, Freckle TV is youthful, down to earth and raw with a D.I.Y-esque approach to content creation. So far they’ve flexed their range by interviewing models from around the world about their experience in isolation as well as essential workers from women’s community shelters.
Pivot Film Festival Iso Music Video Challenge
Sydney based filmmakers Mike Funnell and Jessie Singh sum up the spirit of the creative industries pretty well when speaking about why they launched the Iso Music Challenge. “When we can’t find work, we make it”, they explain. Participants each entered a 2-4 minute music video keeping within local social distancing laws which were narrowed down to a selection of finalists. Judged by a panel of industry professionals, the live stream for the Music Video Challenge is this Saturday, May 2nd at 7:30 pm AEST on the Twitch ANZ homepage.
Yasmin Suteja’s ISO 2020 series
Yasmin Suteja, the creative mind behind the Culture Machine agency/studio/production company, has created an IGTV series documenting brand new ways of creating connection during the COVID-19 crisis. Producers spanning disciplines from photography to music and sound have initiated projects in isolation which are explored by Yasmin via FaceTime interviews with the creators.
Photographers River Bennet and Bel Litchfield are the founders of The First Hello, a company specialising in birth photography. Since the virus outbreak, they haven’t been able to capture the beautiful, intimate moments they usually can. Instead, they’re telling new stories by shooting family portraits through the windows of their subjects’ homes, observing moments of gratitude and love among families in isolation.
Martina Martian’s virtual exhibition “Home” and #scenesfromisolation project
Not one to rest on her laurels, Sydney-based illustrator Martina Martian has launched a couple of projects in iso (just casually). Scenes From Isolation is a collaborative project inviting individuals from across the world to document their experiences of isolation. Each recipient receives a limited edition single-use camera designed by Martina, to capture this strange, historic time through a personal lens. The resulting images act as a time capsule and will be curated as an online experience. "Home" is a virtual art exhibition featuring some of the best names in art from around the world, including Robin Eisenberg, Adam J. Kurtz, Grace Miceli and more. The show opens May 1 and runs throughout the entire month, so grab some pals and get dressed up just for the hell of it.
#stayinside Music Compilation
'Stay Inside: Songs from the Great Indoors', is a collection of music born and bred in this period of isolation. Launched by a group of local labels and featuring an impressive list of emerging and established artists, each track on 'Stay Inside' has been written, recorded or 'finally finished' throughout the recent weeks of social distancing and isolation. A new track is released each day over the month of April, so there’s plenty to catch up on.
Groove Therapy Online Dance Lessons
Originally launched in Sydney and taken to Byron Bay, then New York City by founder Vanessa Varghese, Groove Therapy has grown a strong global presence. As well as their online dance courses, they now have live-streamed dance classes so you can get your groove on from the comfort of your living room. Although this one was technically launched pre-iso, it’s the perfect skill to learn right now.
No Offence, But
Black Birds have launched their insightful, informative and fun new podcast No Offence, But in isolation. Hosted by the multi-talented Ayeesha Ash, the podcast is a series of conversations with a range of artists, creatives and professionals that break away from stereotypes and get to the core of people’s work and what drives it. Essential iso listening.
A lot of of artists have been financially affected by COVID-19, some completely losing their income. Enter Cream Town, a new online art store selling prints by local creators for $100 each. From each sale, the artist gets $48, Hound & Bone Printing Studio gets $32 and Cream Town gets $20. Support Aussie artists and get a great new print to accompany you in isolation!
Distillery Hand Sanitiser
This may not be a creative project in the traditional sense, but it’s definitely worth a mention. One of Sydney’s favourite gin joints, Poor Tom’s has been producing bulk hand sanitiser for frontline services who face dwindling supplies. Other legends churning out hand-sani are Mr Black Coffee Liqueur, Cape Byron Distillery