Sophia Brous with Faye Driscoll, Samara Hersch, and Lara Thoms

The Invisible Opera (2021)

Performance maker Sophia Brous and her collaborators turn the city into a stage and its inhabitants into extras as well as actors and actresses. Using innovative city-wide sound design, electroacoustic orchestration, live vocal performance, choreography, and adaptable scenic design, the work examines what is seen and unseen in public space.

Guests are invited to come with their own mobile devices and headphones, which are used to tune into a special audio stream. This is not a recording, but a signal generated live on-site. Directional microphones record all the sounds at a busy Graz square, which converge in a hidden studio. Additional cameras provide surveillance footage of the everyday goings-on. The artist mixes, recomposes, and comments on this distributed soundscape of the city, blurring the boundaries between reality and artifice. Is the man in the suit part of the event? Is the woman with the briefcase waving an actress or someone I might know?

Unfolding as a live, hypnotic observation of all the behaviors, actions, and patterns of everyday life, the hustle and bustle of the city center gradually gives way to a manufactured spectacle, revealing how private interests of real estate, big data, tourism, and city planning shape our behavior and establish who is and who is not welcome in our public environment.

Sophia Brous (1985, Melbourne, Australia) is an interdisciplinary artist and performer. A noted vocalist in her own right, Brous also devises ambitious collaborative commissions, including large-scale concert installations and works for public space. Brous’s recent works include the multidisciplinary performance work Mount Analogue (Oslo Opera House / Ultima, Oslo, Norwegian Arts Council); the large-scale concert installation Dream Machine for Red Bull Music Festival New York / Pioneer Works (featuring guests Iggy Pop, Master Musicians of Jajouka, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Zeena Parkins, Greg Fox); and When The World’s On Fire for John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington D. C. (with Marc Ribot). Brous is currently a 2021 resident artist of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and a former artist-in-residence of National Sawdust, New York; The Watermill Center, Water Mill, NY; and Red Bull Arts New York. She lives in New York and Melbourne.

Faye Driscoll (1975, Venice, USA) is a choreographer and director. Her work is rooted in the contemporary obsession with assumed identity and all the comedy it entails. Driscoll’s work has been commissioned by Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; New Museum, New York; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus; Institute for Contemporary Art / Boston; Danspace Project, New York; HERE Arts Center, New York; The Kitchen, New York; Dance Theater Workshop, New York; American Dance Festival, Durham; Fusebox Festival, Austin; UCLA; CounterPulse, San Francisco; and The Yard, Chilmark, MA. She lives in New York.

Samara Hersch is a theater maker, director, and teaching artist whose practice explores the intersection of contemporary performance and community engagement. Recent directing credits include Body of Knowledge (SICK! Festival, Manchester, 2019; Liveworks Festival, Sydney, 2019; SPIELART Theaterfestival, Munich, 2019), Dybbuks (Chamber Made and Theatre Works, 2018), We All Know What’s Happening (Arts House, Melbourne, 2017; Campbelltown Arts Centre, 2018; Vitalstatistix, Adelaide 2019; Noorderzon Festival, Groningen 2019; Zürcher Theater Spektakel 2019; winner of the Green Room Award for Best Contemporary and Experimental Performance 2017 and recipient of the ZKB Patronage Prize and Audience Prize, Zürcher Theater Spektakel 2019). She lives between Naarm (Melbourne) and Amsterdam.

Lara Thoms is an artist interested in socially engaged, site-specific, and participatory possibilities of contemporary performance. Lara’s projects sit within the common theme of reconsidering social hierarchies and highlighting the less visible. Most recently Lara created The Director, a performance with an ex-funeral director interrogating the death industry, played at Arts House and The Sydney Opera House, which will tour to the ANTI Festival, Kuopio, and the SICK! Festival, Manchester, later this year. Her collaborative feminist performance Before the Siren with Hannah Gadsby, artists Snapcat and 500 women from recreational clubs in Western Australia was commissioned for Perth International Arts Festival in 2017. She lives in Melbourne.

17.9., 16:00, 18:00
18.9., 16:00, 18:00
19.9., 16:00, 18:00

8020 Graz
♿ Venue accessible for wheelchairs

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16/12 euros

Commissioned and produced by steirischer herbst ’21

With the generous support of the Australian Embassy to Austria