Supersense is back for another year of enlightening art, theatre and music

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Supersense is back for another year of enlightening art, theatre and music


Back in 2017 for another year of enlightening art, theatre and music, Supersense seeks to give rise to experiences of ecstatic wonder, a contemporary performing arts festival setting out to explore planes of ecstatic experience. Supersense Curator and Performer Sophia Brous says exploring this idea is what the festival is all about while exploring the artistic and spiritual ties that unify creative pursuits.

“The way that we define and seek out states of ecstatic potential and experience – that’s what the focus of the festival is,” says Brous.  “You look at cultures and communities and spaces of communion all over the world and realise how consistent organised cultures and communities are. From small groups up to the millions, we seek out states of transcendent being. Of revelation, of enlightening, of enhanced perception and experiences.”

In Brous’ opinion, the pursuit of ecstasy could not be fulfilled without a curation of artists who approach the exploration from all different angles of rationality.

“Being such a universal feature of humanity and civilisation around the world means there’s almost an infinite amount of material and work to delve into and to source from,” says Brous. “I wanted to create a festival that explored that as a theme, whether it be sacred or profane states of ecstatic being. Is it that we look for it in ancient forms of religious tradition? Is it that we seek it out in contemporary forms of art or noise or transgression? That’s the reason I created Supersense.”

Loaded with a diverse program, Supersense will feature performances from Spiritualized with the Australian Art Orchestra; explore the spiritual legacy of Alice Coltrane, light up the stage with the groundbreaking Pussy Riot Theatre; dish out the noise with powerhouse act Nazoranai; and showcase a festival within a festival in the form of Overground.

“For me, it’s about exploring states of contrast [while] looking at things that bring us together through those similarities however different the pieces of art are,” says Brous. “Is the role of a rock‘n’roll singer the same as a Catholic preacher’s, or the same as a Mexican shaman? These are questions I’ve created that sociologists and anthropologists have looked at for many years. When you bring all different rituals and traditions together into one literal space – into an environment where all those spaces interact and feed off of one another – I think that’s something very magical, and something transformative can happen.”

Supersense taps into a thirst for artistic fulfilment that is innate in humans. This idea will be explored further when the Arts Centre – a cultural institution within Melbourne – will be transformed into something entirely new across three days.

“I think this hunger exists within us,” says Brous. “The festival is simply seeking to speak to you and relate to you. I want it to be a conference of communion where people can come and drink up this sublimely beautiful, expressive art, and perhaps breakdown their perspectives on genre or context or art.

“If you step into an environment where you drop your guard, you can open yourself up to the most amazing experiences. It’s always an interesting thing to experience art and performance not purely as entertainment but as a space of heightened union and ecstatic potential which draws very fundamentally on our needs as human beings.”

Brous views curating the Supersense program in a holistic sense. Every artist is united and all ideas are met with an equal measure of fascination and appreciation.

“The whole thing about Supersense is that it’s a cast of acts that are exploring this similar theme – everyone speaks to this space and the potential that Supersense nurtures,” she says. “Every single performance reflects their interest; the fundamental thing that Supersense wants to create – a symposium of the ecstatic, a conversation of the ecstatic state.

“The beautiful brutality of Keiji Haino, the Master Musicians of Jajouka [Morocco], the amazing ancient voice of Ánde Somby – they all play such a specific role. All of these things spark off of one another. You’re not meant to go to the festival knowing and loving this work but I guarantee you’ll walk out utterly concussed, dizzied and mesmerised by it.”