Ars electronica 2020
Experimenta Garden
Featuring Matthew Sleeth’s A Drone opera 

Matthew Sleeth’s A Drone Opera is a poetic exploration of the reality of constant surveillance and our love affair with technology. This five-year project navigates diverse presentation conventions and audiences, with this next iteration delving into the virtual environment of the Mozilla Hub platform, presented as part of Ars Electronica’s 2020 Festival program. 

Comprising of research material and striking footage from performance and installations, audiences can explore an immersive digital experience of this artwork from its origins with underground drone racers in a Melbourne suburban carpark, through to the vibrant live operatic performance and gallery presentations. For a limited time, the Ars Electronica website will also host a link to the full single-channel film for audiences to watch online (details to be released soom.

As producing partner, Experimenta and Artistic Director Jonathan Parsons have collaborated with Australian artist Matthew Sleeth to develop and present a performance, a film, and an installation of ‘A Drone Opera’ over five years. This iterative model navigated different presentation conventions and audiences; utilising hybrid practices that incorporate drone operators, opera singers, moving image, laser light, theatre and audio design. At the heart of the work is an artist’s exploration into the growing interdependence between the analogue and digital worlds.

Experimenta is honoured to be featured in the 2020 Ars Electronica international program, representing Melbourne, Australia. With the simultaneity and duality of local-physical and globally networked events all over the world, this year Ars Electronica becomes an exciting experimental laboratory and prototype for a next-level networking that will focus primarily on new forms and possibilities of fusion and coexistence of analog and digital, real and virtual, physical and telematic proximity. Starting in Linz (Austria) and working with partner gardens from Ars Electronica’s extraordinarily large international network, ‘real’ events will take place in many places, with ‘real’ artists and scientists for “real” audiences, all of which will be networked into a virtual festival from September 9 – 13 2020.

Experimenta Garden
Dates: 9 – 13 September 2020

Film Screening of ‘A Drone Opera’ by Matthew Sleeth (AU)
Dates: 9 – 13 September 2020

Lubi Thomas In conversation with Matthew Sleeth and Jonathan Parsons
Date: Sunday 13 September from 3:00 – 3:55pm AEST

A Drone Opera by Matthew Sleeth

Produced by: Kate Richards; Executive Producer: Jonathan Parsons; Written by Matthew Sleeth, Kate Richards; Composer and Librettist: Susan Frykberg; Laser Set Design: Robin Fox; Sound Design: Philip Samartzis; Lighting Design: Bosco Shaw; Cinematography: David McKinnar; Soprano: Judith Dodsworth; Countertenor: Hamish Gould; Bass-Baritone: Paul Hughes

Mozilla Hub created by Craig Bowler, Art Director at Visitor

Commissioned by Experimenta, Australia’s preeminent media arts organisation