Winter Wonderland, was one-night only contemporary art event in one of Western Sydney’s last remaining fun parks O’Neill’s Adventureland. The night combined fairy-floss, rides, bands and performances, all in the amazing landscape of a semi-ruined amusement park. Winter Wonderland was a one night only experience that probed the inventive, psychedelic and unique world of the fun park. Curated by Zanny Begg and Megan Monte. Last Adventure, memories of theme parks in Western Sydney, was a parallel event curated by students of Zanny Begg in the Masters of Curating and Cultural Leadership Course, UNSW Art & Design.
Photographs by Alex Wisser.
6pm | Last Adventure (Timothy Dwyer, Zachariah Fenn, Hana Hoogedeure, Kata Komlos, Jack Mannix and Giselle Stanborough)
6pm | Winter Wonderland (Karen Therese + Kate Blackmore, Singing Sadie, Heath Franco, Rosie Deacon, Safdar Ahmed and Renny Kogers)
6.30pm | TOUR (meet at Last Adventure – bookings essential)
6pm | Fortune Telling with Renny Kodgers (Marquee)
6-6.45pm | Performances by Rosie Deacon (Dodgem Cars) & Heath Franco (Fun House)
7.30pm | TOUR (meet at Last Adventure – bookings essential)
6.45-7.15pm | John Dacey (The Occult of Bidwill and Minister of the Bidwill Uniting Church)(Main Stage) Singing Sadie (near the Organ)
7.15-8pm | Performances by Hazeen (Safdar Ahmed and Can Yalcinkaya) (Lower End of Site)
8.30pm | TOUR (meet at Last Adventure – bookings essential)
8pm | Performances by Singing Sadie & White Knuckle Fever (Main Stage)
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.