Art Culture United in Urban Warehouse Event: The World Beyond

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Culture Jam, a Melbourne based all-inclusive arts project, has launched a series of post-apocalypse themed art and music events, starting with the incredibly successful World Beyond warehouse event. The series raises questions about our society and technology, particularly in regards to surveillance and the future ecological and economic sustainability of our planet.

The World Beyond

The real beauty of Culture Jam’s new series of events is that it unites a broad spectrum of artistic fields under a theme people can really relate to and get involved in.

‘Melbourne, the last standing city of Australia, has fallen to complete ruins. After extensive civilian and rebel backlash, the remaining political powers of Victoria’s Capital have now been dissolved. Parliament House, Melbourne Town Hall and the Old Flinders St Station, referred to as ‘The Last Triad’, have all been looted and disbanded.’

The year is 2040, and ecological and economic collapse have brought the world to the brink of social collapse. This is the scene set by the extensive marketing campaign that Culture Jam elaborately developed in the lead up to The World Beyond, including an incredible promotional video and fake newspaper articles detailing the end of the world as we know it.

Writers were brought in by operations manager and head of Culture Jam, Michael Scarlett, to help develop the storyline that will emerge over the course of the events, including science-fiction author, Jeremy Bowden. The social commentary and narrative they developed was woven into both the promotion and production of the event, culminating on June 1st in a fully immersive dystopian world unlike anything the people of Melbourne had experienced before. With Multiple stages, bands, DJ’s, markets, live art installations, themed bars and a cinema, spread throughout a maze-like warehouse venue, carefully converted to look like an underground rebel base of operations, the result was nothing short of phenomenal.

With appropriate costuming a pre-described necessity to avoid interrogation, punters were expected to come with well-developed characters and backstories, or risk being dragged away from their friends and questioned in some distant room by actors committed to the role of interrogator. This tactic ensured a huge array of futuristic costuming and a crowd ready to suspend their beliefs for twelve hours of post-apocalyptic mayhem. Viral outbreaks, armed guards and decontamination chambers helped to complete the already very tangible dystopian atmosphere.

As a writer of speculative fiction, Bowden was drawn to the project by the depth of the concept and the way in which the event highlighted current global issues, such as surveillance technology and sustainability, concepts that align closely with his own series of books, entitled Bioweapon.

“The real beauty of Culture Jam’s new series of events is that it unites a broad spectrum of artistic fields under a theme people can really relate to and get involved in. It is the idea as well as the inherent social commentary that resonates with people, but it is the flare and professionalism with which Scarlett delivers this concept that has set it apart from anything that has been done before in Australia.”

With the first World Beyond event selling out days before opening its doors, Culture Jam is now working on some other small scale events while developing the concept further for the next round. Scarlett has hinted that as the story develops, so will the technology and the scale of the installations and artists included, demonstrating through a culmination of production and performance what the future may hold for us all.

Check out the promo video.

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