A Drone Opera | Media Release 21 May 2019

Carriageworks announces Matthew Sleeth’s A Drone Opera: multi-channel video installation inspired by the myth of Icarus.

Sydney, Australia: Carriageworks announced that multi-disciplinary artist Matthew Sleeth’s A Drone Opera will be shown as a three-channel video installation, free to the public from 22 June – 28 July.

A co-presentation from Experimenta and Carriageworks, A Drone Opera by Melbourne-born Sleeth is a multi-channel video installation featuring surveilling drones set to an original libretto performed by opera singers. It is a cinematic and poetic work reflecting on the new reality of constant surveillance and our love affair with technology. Loosely structured around the myth of Icarus, fragments of Ovid’s ‘The Fall of Icarus’ are sung throughout the work to drive a narrative of desire, fear and destruction.

Sleeth’s most ambitious live work to date A Drone Opera had its world premiere as a live theatre show at Melbourne’s Arts House in 2015, where the audience were caged to protect them from the drones.

Carriageworks Director of Programs Daniel Mudie Cunningham said, ‘Carriageworks is proud to present with Experimenta this bold video installation by Matthew Sleeth. The conceptual and technical artistry of this work offers a unique insight into how spectatorship and surveillance is rapidly evolving as technology mediates contemporary life. With A Drone Opera, Sleeth and collaborators offer a distinctive immersive experience.’

‘Experimenta is thrilled to be working with Carriageworks to present the premier of Matthew Sleeth’s installation – A Drone Opera. The work brings together an electrifying combination of purpose-built drones, lasers and transcendent arias, providing the viewer with a visceral experience of both the sublime beauty and terrifying reality of flying intelligence. A Drone Opera speaks to the complexity of our times driven by startling advances in technology.’, said Jonathan Parsons, Artistic Director, Experimenta.

A Drone Opera’s artistic collaborators include producer and dramaturge, experimental artist Kate Richards, composer Susan Frykberg, laser set designer Robin Fox, sound designer Phil Samartzis, lighting designer Bosco Shaw and choreographer Shelley Lasica. The libretto is performed by three vocalists – Judith Dodsworth, Hamish Gould and Paul Hughes.

Sleeth’s practice is conceptually driven across a range of media, including photography, video, sculpture and public installation. His work has been widely collected and exhibited throughout Australia and internationally including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Cologne, Berlin and Venice. Sleeth’s Development Video [A Drone Opera] featured in RMIT Design Hub’s exhibition The Future is Here co-¬curated with the Design Museum London in 2014 before A Drone Opera premiered at Arts House in September 2015.

Join Matthew Sleeth in conversation with Carriageworks Director Programs, Daniel Mudie Cunningham at 11.30am on Saturday 22 June.

A Drone Opera
22 Jun – 28 Jul, 10am-6pm
Carriageworks, 245 Wilson Street, Eveliegh

For media enquiries and interviews please contact Julia Barnes, julia@articulatepr.com.au, 0402 678 589 or Kym Elphinstone, kym@articulatepr.com.au 0421 106 139.

Matthew Sleeth Bio
Matthew Sleeth is a visual artist and filmmaker with a collaborative practice that incorporates video, photography, performance and sculpture with a particular focus on the aesthetic and conceptual concerns of new media. His work regularly considers the social patterns and relationships that frame our world to create objects and experiences that are political, visually ambitious and formally experimental. Matthew’s work has been exhibited throughout Australia and internationally including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Tokyo, Cologne, Berlin, Copenhagen and Venice. He has participated in a number of exhibitions at the National Gallery of Victoria including Melbourne Now (2013), Negotiating This World (2012), Contemporary Encounters (2010), Long Distance Vision (2009), Light Sensitive (2006) and the Felix H. Mann Memorial Prize (1993). Matthew’s work in collected in six monographic books and he recently directed GUILTY (2017), a feature film set during the final 72 hours of artist and convicted drug trafficker Myuran Sukumaran before he was executed by firing squad in Indonesia. In 2014 he completed his Ph.D at RMIT University, titled Representation and Reproduction: A Love Story. Matthew is represented by Claire Oliver Gallery (New York) sleeth.info

Experimenta is Australia’s leading contemporary arts organisation dedicated to commissioning, exhibiting and promoting art driven by technology. Since its inception in 1986, Experimenta has developed a worldwide reputation for fostering creativity that extends the aesthetic, conceptual and experiential potential of new art forms at the intersection of digital media, science and technology, and design. As an organisation that continues to support new forms of contemporary practice, Experimenta is recognised as a leading hub of experimental art in Australia. experimenta.org