I’m at the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts for a few days. Yay! (I’ve wanted to get here for ages and everything has just fallen into place this year.) I’ll have photos up in a couple of weeks (don’t want to leech all the wifi in this house…like last time *OOPS*).There are lots of free events on during the festival. Today was the start of “Revolt of the Mannequins“. It’s several stories that develop through scenes in shop windows using mannequins as models. There are ten stories scattered around the CBD. (Pick up a map from the festival caravan or download the PDF. I’m intrigued by the mannequin who has been shot by the sniper on the Kirks roof.) It’s as much a treasure hunt as anything else. The tableaus blend into general shop fronts. Tip – look for a bunch of people on the pavement. At lunch time I was in the City Gallery for ‘Watch This Space’ a site-specific dance improvisation by the Footnote dancers. (Some of the people there were obviously unaware that something was happening. I overheard them asking each other if they should call the gallery staff.) There are several galleries – the creative director was amused by people running like ‘lemmings’ from space to space. I stayed up in the galleries displaying Séraphine Pick’s work not realising that there were more dancers downstairs. After a 20 minute display of athleticism and grace the dancers gathered downstairs to perform a short excerpt from MTYLand. They are possibly going to have a repeat performance next week after their secondary school workshops. (These will be in the gallery as well. I really like the trend towards performances/rehersals that aren’t confined to traditional performance spaces. It seems to me that it helps break the idea that ‘culture’ is only for a small selction of society.) After that I nipped over to the Wellington Town Hall to have a look at “Music in the eye” an exhibition of graphic scores by NZ composers. Basically the composers were interpreting music as art. At least I think that’s what it was…I like the ones that were reminiscient of crop circle diagrams. My final free thing for the day was a film. “Stockhausen’s Helicopter String Quartet” was about the process involved in staging Karlheinz Stockhausen’s piece of music for a string quartet and four helicopters. Completely mad but also very compelling. I can’t figure out why it’s billed as ‘controversial’ unless it is the idea of using helicopters in music. Is is music? Is it art? Is it a spectacle? I reckon it’s all three. (My favourite scene – when the four helicopters are hovering and moving in a line down the runway and the soundtrack is only ambient countryside with the sound of wind and buzzing flies.) I’ve also been to a couple of the Art Talks which I’m finding fascinating. Another show tonight then hopefully off to the Pacific Blue Festival Club for drinks. So far so good!