Gallery Profile ⟶ The Lock Up, Newcastle (NSW) — Experimenta

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Experimenta heads back to Newcastle to launch our 9th touring show Experimenta Life Forms at The Lock-Up. This will be our third time presenting with the gallery! We’re very excited to bring this new touring exhibition to audiences in the Hunter Valley on Mulubinba land (NSW) and chat with Artistic Director Courtney Novak.

Q: Thanks for having us again Courtney! What about the Experimenta Life Forms exhibition do you think will be of most interest to your audiences?

The Lock-Up’s audience is always fascinated with the Experimenta exhibition, and the way in which artists from all over Australia and the world negotiate complex issues around science, culture and technology in a completely visual way.

The Experimenta exhibition always creates a lot of robust discussions around incredibly important contemporary issues. It’s always fascinating for visitors, young and old, to see this exhibition, using cutting edge technology, robotics,  against the back-drop of our historical spaces.

Q: The Lock-Up is a very unique exhibition space – how do artists often respond to the space through visual art and performance?

Our space is a completely unique space for artists to exhibit work within. The Lock-Up was the Newcastle Police Station and lock-up from 1861 until its closure in 1982. Today it stands as a purpose-built gallery space alongside rare heritage-listed cells, and a large outdoor performance space which was once the men’s exercise yard.

Because our building is a very unconventional space for exhibiting, most of the artists that we work with develop site-specific works that speak directly to the architecture of our space. We also have an artist in residence onsite, which once was a detective office, so this allows artists spend time here while developing their work.

Q: Are there any life forms native to the Hunter Valley that you want to share with us?

I am obsessed with spotting these little ferns that you often see sprouting from the walls of really old man-made structures. This little guy has been in our driveway for a while now. I love how, against all odds, it found a tiny crack in the building, enough rain water from the nearby drain and the perfect amount of sunshine to grow in the side of an old 18th century police station.

Experimenta Life Forms: International Triennial of Media Art explores the changing notions of life by 26 contemporary artists. Presenting at The Lock Up, Newcastle (NSW) 10 July – 22 August 2021