Winter Wonderland, was one-night only contemporary art event in one of Western Sydney’s last remaining fun parks O’Neill’s Adventureland, curated by Zanny Begg and Megan Monte. The night combined fairy-floss, rides, bands and performances, all in the amazing landscape of a semi-ruined amusement park.
Photographs by Alex Wisser.
Safdar Ahmed is a Sydney-based artist and academic. In 2010 he completed his PhD with the Department of Arabic and Islamic studies at the University of Sydney. His dissertation, Reform and Modernity in Islam, linked the work of various Muslim reformist thinkers to contemporary paradigms of modernity. Parodying the darker fears that lurk within our imaginations of suburbia Ahmed will be debuting Sydney’s first Muslim Death Metal Band with an accompanying series of Muslim Zombie Posters.
Rosie Deacon is an artist working in sculpture and installation whose work engages with the spectacle of obsession. Her handmade sculptural installations hinder on the edges of absurdity For Winter Wonderland she has been working with a team of dancers to create her own low fi version of 50c Candy Shop. Deacon will occupy the Dodgem Car Ride at Adventureland with a colourful and loud installation that explores the power of music in our memories of place.
Heath Franco is a Western Sydney new media artist, his psychological portraits of suburban life are at once compelling, disturbing and often hilarious. Using readymade and often domestic objects as his props and costumes, Franco takes a fresh look at self-representation, creating characters (played by Franco himself) situated in bizarre and outrageous scenarios. MEAT FIRE FUN HOUSE will see Heath Franco perform live atop the ‘Circus Fun House’ fairground ride. MEAT FIRE FUN HOUSE is influenced by the artist’s childhood experiences of visiting fairgrounds such as the Sydney Royal Easter Show and his ongoing affinity with memories of the aesthetics, the deep-fried meat, the cheap horror masks and the thrill of the ghost train.
Renny Kodgers is the glamorous southern gent who has been entertaining audiences from Hobart to Orange for as long as he can remember. He has been a mainstay on Sydney’s underground cabaret scene, performing at Club 34b, The Oxford Art Factory, The Red Rattler, Carriageworks and at the music festivals Parklife and Field Day thrilling punters with his invective humour and dulcet tones. For Winter Wonderland, Kodgers will invite audience’s members in to have their fortunes told.
Singing Sadie (aka Katie Green) is a brash, loud, charming and funny performer who mashes up the vaudeville aesthetics of fun parks in their heyday with contemporary cultural issues and concerns. She sings, tap-dancers, tell stories and jokes and will lead a torch light ghost tour of the site.
Karen Therese is the Creative Director of PYT Fairfield and was the Creative Director of Fun Park, an event for the 2014 Sydney Festival. Her work is grounded in performance, political activism and community building. For Winter Wonderland she has conducted a series of interviews with a range of former visitors and enthusiasts of Wonderland to discuss the impact fun parks have on our cultural imagination.