Count down to Splendour

New media artist Jordana Maisie gets ready for lift off at this year’s Splendour in the Grass

Yes people, it’s a rock festival, but Australia’s Splendour in the Grass (July 29-31) has always had a strong, unconventional visual art component. This year - the 11th anniversary - it just got bigger.


Jordana Maisie’s Close Encounters is MASSIVE. It’s 5 metres high and 6.5 metres in diameter; a crazy, creative spaceship sculpture, with a mirrored skin to reflect the random crowd, trees and sky, and a scrolling LED screen around the rim. Part sculpture, part live performance piece, festival goers will be invited to participate by texting messages in, entering into a dialogue with each other and “the aliens” which will scroll round the screen in real time. It’s designed to be a meeting place: a place for conversation, and to inspire conversation, a literal meeting place (see you at the spaceship!), a playful symbol of the meeting of different worlds, escapism and mind-altering states; a portal to parallel universes and multiple realities.


It’s also the biggest ever project Splendid (an initiative for young artists, a joint venture between Splendour in the Grass, Lismore Regional Gallery and NORPA, assisted by the Australia Council) has ever mentored and funded.

Technically, what a challenge – it’s been about a year in making for the artist and has involved complex structural engineering (she credits Andy McDonell & Jeremy Sparks in particular) as well as customised design elements such as specially imported chrome laminated ABS panels to give a seamless mirrored finish. Not to mention its own second-hand shipping container for transport.



Jordana Maisie is a serious talent. Based between Berlin and Sydney, her work comes from an intellectualised place and utilizes sophisticated technology but has an uplifting playful quality, and is often collaborative and interactive. Check out her most famous work (up til now) The Real Thing on her website, plus her most recent - the cheeky kinetic Democrata Automata, and the more subtle Liminal Space (tiny led lights powered by soil).



Have a good Splendour & watch this space.

- Susie Burge, all rights reserved. Photo images courtesy of the artist, Jordana Maisie.

ATL Tip: Pick up a copy of the August 2011 issue of Australian Harpers Bazaar for more on Jordana and Splendour Art Projects