The sublime beauty and terrifying reality of flying intelligence.
A Drone Opera viscerally explores the rapidly developing technology of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), colloquially known as drones, and their social and cultural impact. Artist Matthew Sleeth directs an experimental multimedia performance featuring drones, their pilots and opera singers, combined with a new sound score, laser light design and moving image.
Feeling the drones’ air displacement and hearing their rotor sound, audiences will experience this robotic technology first hand, shifting their knowledge of drones from political abstraction into embodied experience in time and space. Curious about their potential to re-shape our world, Sleeth has designed, built and programmed customised drones specifically for the performance context.
Sleeth’s largest work to date, A Drone Opera also features an inspiring line-up of collaborators, including experimental artists Kate Richards, Robin Fox, Phil Samartzis and Susan Frykberg, lighting designer Bosco Shaw and choreographer Shelley Lasica.
Matthew Sleeth is an Australian artist living and working between Melbourne, Australia and New York City, USA. His conceptually driven practice uses a range of media, including sculpture, photography, video and public installation. Sleeth’s work has been presented widely in Australia and internationally, including at the Odense Triennial, Odense, Denmark; Berlin Photography Festival, Berlin; Noorderlicht Photofestival, Groningen, Netherlands; Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice, Italy; Art Chicago, Chicago, USA; Melbourne International Arts Festival, Melbourne; and National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Sleeth’s work is held in various public and private collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; National Gallery of Victoria; National Portrait Gallery, Canberra; Artbank, Sydney, Australia; Monash University Museum of Modern Art (MUMA), Melbourne; Brandts Museet, Odense, Denmark; Lyons HouseMuseum, Melbourne; Mallesons Stephen Jacques, Sydney; and Deutsche Bank, Australia. Recently, Sleeth worked with fellow artists Ben Quilty and Myuran Sukumaran to support an art program in Kerobokan Prison, Bali, Indonesia.
Director Matthew Sleeth
Producer & Dramaturge Kate Richards
Opera Composer Susan Frykberg
Laser Set Designer Robin Fox
Sound Designer Phil Samartzis
Lighting Designer Bosco Shaw
Drones Lloyd Hassell, Matthew Sleeth, Matthew Tynan & Roger Meagher
Technical Manager Bosco Shaw
Choreographic Consultant Shelley LasicA
Video Documentation David McKinnar & Sherwin Akbarzadeh
Soprano Judith Dodsworth
Alto Tenor Hamish Gould
Bass-Baritone Paul Hughes
A Drone Opera has been supported by the City of Melbourne through Arts House.The creative development of A Drone Opera was supported by Australia Council for the Arts and City of Melbourne