My picks: ruby donohoe’s guide to the festival

A guide to Horizon festival by ruby donohoe

Ruby is an artist and performer who is also the IN | artist run initiative x The Old Lockup Co-Director. Here are a few of her recommendations for this year’s festival.

medicament for your predicament

Cat Jones’ Open Pharmacy! (a hands-on experimental workshop where you get to create tonics, salves, and gargles for political medicines) and Open Lab! (a subversive retail experience) all set in IN | artist run initiative’s headquarters at The Old Lock Up is SUCH a specific experience. I mean, how often do you get a chance to create your own concoctions designed for social x cultural ailments in an old jail and facilitated by an artist like Cat Jones? Cat’s practice is so rich and considered and stems from over 30 years working in sensory, botanic, and social practices. She also just won Australia Council’s 2021 Emerging and Experimental Arts Award. Aside from the appeal of such a unique project, Cat’s interest in experimenting with new approaches to collective and mutual care for our complicated times makes my heart swell in my chest. The opportunity to remember, learn, and create new languages for ways of being with one another is something I feel myself craving and hearing others speak to endlessly. 

Image: ben vos productions

phototropism x electrotropism

Super keen to see the collaborative curation between Amanda Bennetts and Warwick Gow. They’re both incredible artists and part of brilliant projects — like Lantana Space (Moffat Beach) and 40-under-40 Exhibition to name two. I can’t imagine this being anyyyyyyy different. I feel like the Black Box at The Old Ambo will be a really great container for an immersive experience, too. Disrupting the photographic as objects, structures, and sculptures is also 100% my thing. Joseph Burgess is also one of my favourite artists — he works across sound, installation, and his work with NRA (National Rugs Association) is also stupidly brilliant. I’m so wildly excited to see one of his sets on the coast as part of Electrotropism. Who can say for sure, but I heard a rumour that there’s a special guest performance from one of the Aha Ensemble performers collaborating with Joseph. Anyways. There’s a tonne of reasons I have my eye on this one. 

Image: IHF-midshot Joseph Burgess, I hate fireworks, 2021, tufted carpet, timber frame, 1600mm x 900mm


The visual language in Courtney and Itamar’s collaborations are always completely mesmerising. The image of cascading sand from the sky and Gaga-dance-esque bodies is so beautiful. I’m all in. These two and long-term collaborator on the project, Kat Olsen, take heaps of trips up to Rainbow Beach. So in a funny way, I’ve kind of patch-worked all my personal memories of being up there — hazy slow-time, pastel sunsets, wide expanses, and Carlo Sandblow — with the edge of consciousness and surreal space they’re inviting us into. What a dream to see such incredible performance on the coast and particularly in Frank X Studio (those curved photography studio walls tho… yum). 

Image: Itamar Freed

looks like a tourist

Yesss to all of the orange-ness. Yessss to all of the visual spectacle. Yesssss to all the transformative power of visual arts x movement works in public places. Yesssss to going on a group wander. I’m excited by the playfulness of this project and its simultaneous complexity. I’m really interested in seeing how this project both celebrates the best parts of the coast and challenges the insatiable, alienating grotesqueness of tourism based on consumption. Daniele Constance always creates really participatory, engaged, visual works. I’m might be biased cus I know she’s also a great human. And I’m low-key in love with the rest of the artistic team which includes Liesel Zink, Ash Musk, Kat Olsen, and Lauren Watson. 

Image: Jade Ellis

The sinkers

I don’t know how I got so lucky to be living out my synchronised swimming dreammmmmmmmssssss with absolutely no skills to back it up but life is mysterious. Lara is the NZ choreographer behind Wet Hot Beauties and creates magic from mayhew. Through her, this project is coming to Kings Beach x Cotton Tree with the power of community, some handsome-as-hell yellow Shade At Motion hats (you know we’ve got the neck flaps and the under-chin straps), and alls-the spectacle we can muster. Me and a bunch of overwhelmingly-underwhelming,  synchronised swimmers – including founding members Mica Schettini (The Shelter), Warwick Gow (Lantana Space), and Amelia Shaw (Director of Noosa Surf Film Festival x Co-Director of Ebb and Flow)- are pulling out our wedgies (actually, maybe also wedging in) to give you the water-dance routine you didn’t know you needed in your life. But definitely do need.  

~ unashamed self-promotion and vested interest blurb over ~ 

To check out Ruby’s work, head here.

check out the full program here.

Image: Ruby Barnsley