Destination / In Residence

Food for thought: events to attend at Antidote Festival 2019

Learn to sew, catch a glimpse into the future or live out your punk rock fantasies at this year’s Antidote festival. Held in and around Sydney’s iconic Opera House, the festival was conceived as a response to the increasingly uncertain times we find ourselves in. With a focus on pioneering ideas from leading creative minds including Sonic Youth front woman Kim Gordon, Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, Steve Coll, the festival promises to expand our minds and broaden our perspectives. Here, we round up our must-sees from the schedule.

Jason Phu @titsmcgee66.

This is a free public art exhibition from early career artist Jason Phu. In this installation piece, which will be installed and performed during the festival in the Opera House’s forecourt, attendees will see the artists create an interactive musical parade focusing on the human responsibility for climate change. It will involve costumes of Chinese folk takes, a play on light and darkness, and plenty of audience participation.

Jason Phu @titsmcgee66.
Jason Phu @titsmcgee66.

If you’ve gleamed everything out of your latest horoscope, checked mercury’s current position and rearranged your crystal collection but something just still seems off, then this one is for you. In this one-off event, experienced tarot practitioner Psychic Sarah Barry turns her intuitive abilities to the Antidote audience. Bring your questions and hopefully leave feeling a little clearer.

Sarah Barry @sarahthepsychic.
Sarah Barry @sarahthepsychic.
Courtesy Antidote Festival.
Denise Ho @hoccgoomusic.
Denise Ho @hoccgoomusic.

Hong Kong has been in the news a lot lately. If you’re not all over the happenings of our neighbour across the Pacific (but would like to be), this is a not-to-be-missed panel discussion. Denise Ho, an LGBTQI activist, Cantopop star and prominent figure in Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution, will be on hand to talk us through Hong Kong’s confronting political reality. With a personal fight in this very global problem, she was dropped by her record label, barred from performing, and delisted from streaming platforms after she came out as lesbian in 2012 – we’re expecting this to be a passionate and much needed wake-up call.

Denise Ho @hoccgoomusic.

Kim Gordon is a visual artist, writer, actress, designer and, of course, the former bassist of Sonic Youth. She’s basically who we all wanted to be when we grew up. As the headliner for this year’s Antidote festival, the punk rock icon will speak on flipping gender norms, writing lyrics against conservative politics and how she managed to build a career out of disobedience. Hosted by Myf Warhus, the radio host, former Spicks & Specks panellist and co-host of music podcast Bang On is known for her encyclopaedic knowledge of music and the industry, so the pair are bound to get into some pretty special territory.

Kim Gordon @kimletgordon.
Kim Gordon @kimletgordon.
Courtesy Antidote Festival.

We’re well versed in the ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ mantra, but what are we to do when our favourite denim tragically tears or a silk blouse gets snagged as you not-so-delicately pull it out from the closet? Well, you come to the Make & Mends Workshop and learn how to get handy with a needle and thread, hosted by designer and businesswoman Melissa Tan-Lu. With Australians currently disposing of 6000 kilograms of fashion and waste every ten minutes, it’s time to learn to sew in the name of mother earth.

We’re all for face masks, yoga retreats and just generally taking some self-care time, but rarely do we stop to wonder why it is we increasingly feel the need to take a moment out of the day-to-day. On this panel, pop-culture experts including Executive Editor at VICE Media UK, Zing Tsjeng, Guardian columnist Brigid Delaney and Junkee Editor Patrick Lenton plan on getting to the bottom of exactly what we’re trying to block out, and why we feel the need to regularly escape from our own lives.

Zing Tsjeng @miss_zing.
Courtesy Antidote Festival.