When: Thursday, 29 March - Sunday, 3 June
Where: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, 140 George St, The Rocks, NSW
How much: FREE
The newly extended Museum of Contemporary Art Australia would be doing only half its job if all the artworks in its opening salvo hung on the walls. Teaming up with Performance Space, it is also showcasing performance, participatory and site-specific artworks that roam the museum surrounds and suffuse your visit with surprise. There are seven works in the program, dubbed Local Positioning Systems, and each responds in some way to the MCA building and the space around it.
Celestial Radio (March 29 to April 15) is unmissable, mainly because the sunlight bouncing off the sailboat's 60,000 mirror tiles will blind you. The stunning sculptural object, by Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich, is also a literal twist on the pirate radio station, broadcasting a psychedelic soundwork crafted with the input of locals.
Preceded by a tour of the show by artist Stuart Ringholt 6-8pm (the artist will be naked. Those who wish to join the tour must also be naked. Adults only) (on March 27-29) is a work we've more succinctly titled the 'Naked Art Tour'. Ringholt's art confronts themes of fear and embarrassment, though unlike the instance when he walked around with toilet paper hanging from his pants, this one requires you to do the confronting as you join an all-nude after-hours gallery tour. It will book out quick.
Which is a world away from Julie-Anne Long's Val, The Invisible (April 7-23). If you overlook the humble, middle-aged woman at its centre, you'll be missing out on the little bit of art she inserts into the everyday. She's at least one stranger in the MCA you ought to stop to talk to.
In The Experts Project (May 6-13), Lara Thoms is riffing on that thing we all do now where we read an article on Wikipedia and act like we've written the PhD — except she's learning from people in real-life, and she's self-aware. After exploring the unofficial and unexpected specialties of people with whom her residency at the museum brings her into contact, she'll digest their wisdom into a series of presentations. A previous incarnation of the project taught her about "how to skin a rabbit with your bare hands, making decorative toilet roll holders, bubbleology, staying out of a psych ward, polyamory" and much, much more.
For those unsatisfied with the cost or philosophical scope of their GP's office, Jason Maling's Physician (May 5-18) provides. You can make an appointment at the MCA desk and seek treatment from Jason for your contemporary neuroses. Regular gallerygoers might likes to have their 'metaphobia' and 'generalised indifference disorder' looked at.
Latai Taumoepeua's i-Land X-isle (May 25-26) is a huge performance installation that addresses themes of climate change and rising sea levels. It includes large blocks of ice suspended by traditional Tongan binding techniques beside the waters of Sydney Harbour.
Finally, Dachshund UN (June 2-3) by Bennett Miller is indeed a United Nations of dachshunds. In a scale model of the General Assembly built in the MCA forecourt, 47 representative dachshunds (whose animal rights have apparently been considered and respected) will gather to debate the issues. And if that looks like a pointless exercise, well, yeah.