Beat’s top 7 unmissable picks for City of Darebin’s FUSE Festival

Beat’s top 7 unmissable picks for City of Darebin’s FUSE Festival

Fuse Festival
Words by Lucas Radbourne

Darebin's FUSE Digital kicks off September 4 with a very exciting, innovative program so we've compiled our best picks for the festival.

The City of Darebin has pivoted FUSE Festival to become FUSE Digital in the wake of Melbourne’s lockdowns, which has opened up new possibilities for the festival and means you can watch it wherever you may be.

It’s a festival curated by the community’s local artists themselves with a First Nations focused program and an array of artistic performances that deal with taboo subjects and discrimination head on.

What you need to know

  • FUSE Digital is the latest iteration of the City of Darebin’s biannual arts program
  • It’s free, streamed online and tackles the big issues facing Australia and the world
  • It runs from September 4 – 19 and features a diverse program curated by local artists themselves

It promises to be an engaging, entertaining and occasionally confronting way to spend lockdown, so we’ve picked seven of the very best performances for you to check out.

1. Ganbu Gulin

The festival’s opener promises to be a highly commanding, moving and spiritual occasion, with a Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Welcome to Country initiated by community elder Uncle Bill Nicholson followed by a performance from the immensely talented Pirritu.

Ganbu Gulin means ‘One Mob’ and presents an alternative to the traditional notions of Australia Day, capturing the essence of inclusiveness and the First Nations’ storied connection to the land.

2. Spaced

FUSE Digital will pioneer Australia’s only Deaf-arts digital festival, which will be led by the entrancing performance of disabled artist Jess Kapuscinski Evans at Spaced.

The aim of the show is to tackle the stigmas and taboos associated with mental illness and physical impairment through a vast combination of live performance, visual art, dance, the online and the old-fashioned printed word. This performance take place on Zoom, is Auslan interpreted and has embedded Audio Descriptions.

3. The Market Record

“If lockdown has taught us anything, it’s that a full fridge is a comfort and shopping for food might provide the most satisfying event of the week,” is how FUSE perfectly describes the alluring nature of Dan Koop & Katerina Kokkinos-Kennedy’s performance.

The two local artists have launched a reflection on food shopping through a deep-dive into the bountiful Preston Market, by creating a solo audio journey of the market using a smartphone or printed instructions. It involves an audio-guided trip to Preston Market’s Food Hall for your weekly shop. It’s a must-do if you live near the area.

4. Wear The Wild

Another physical exhibition that can get you out of the house in lockdown, Wear The Wild combines the talents of wearable costume artists Luna Aquatica and Sarah Seahorse with the Rainbow Lounge to create recyled, wearable artistic pieces.

If you like your fashion statements to send an environmental message as well, then this is a definitely a show for you, and it’s perfect to behold from the old shop window.

5. Combat Discrimination Film Festival

The perfect antidote to cheap Netflix thrills, the highlight of FUSE Digital’s awesome array of films is the work by emerging and established filmmakers on the theme of tackling ugly stereotypes in our society.

The short film collection includes Say Footscray directed by Natalia Bornay, For Becky directed by Chido Mwat, Mother Tongue directed by Jessica Li, Found directed by Kauthar Abdulalim and NGUMPIN KARTIYA directed by Ben McFayden.

6. The Molly Hadfield Social Justice Oration (MHSJO)

Molly Hadfield OAM was a City of Darebin icon who fought for social justice on the streets as a tireless activist and campaigner. It was her upbringing in Melbourne’s northern suburbs that inspired her lifelong devotion to promotion inclusion.

Her legacy is reflected in this festival’s showcase of their annual oration. Trawlwoolway artist Edwina Green will create a visual piece and Wiradjuri writer, teacher and academic Jeanine Leane will create a written work to respond to the theme of social justice.

7. Borders, Human Rights and Refugee Solidarity

An example of FUSE Festival’s purpose to reflect the global, locally, Zoe Holman’s recent book Where the Water Ends: Seeking Refuge in Fortress Europe tells the story of the world’s deadliest frontier through the experiences of asylum-seekers in Greece.

In what promises to be a highly emotive and evocative tale of humanism and migration crises, Zoe will discuss her experiences documenting the effects of Europe’s border regimes on individuals and communities, border policies and prospects for solidarity and collective organising. This event is being hosted on Zoom.

Visit FUSE Festival’s website to see the full events program and schedule, or follow them on Facebook here and Instagram here.