Artwork is a gentle exploration into democracy and social equity. It looks at the state of our societies as they exist, and implicates its audiences and participants into the ways our world is allowed to function.

– Suzy Goes See

Ordinary people with no prior performing experience, no rehearsal and limited direction take centre stage in a major new work by Branch Nebula.

ARTWORK is a highly charged and risky artistic experiment that puts real people who are looking for work on stage in front of an audience for the first time. For this ambitious new work, Branch Nebula each night invites onto the stage untrained and unprepared new workers from vastly different walks of life, ages and cultural backgrounds.

Put simply, the production employs people who are looking for work. The workers are sourced through online classifieds. Every single performance of ARTWORK employs a new group of paid workers. There is no rehearsal and the first time Branch Nebula meets the workers is on the evening of the performance. The results are unpredictable and the only certainty is risk.

The workers are asked to undertake a series of tasks, including interviews, physical tasks, and other routines abstracted from typical workplace activities. Live sound and video are used throughout the performance to capture and amplify the experiment in front of a live audience, and heighten the sense of being under observation, being under the microscope.

The audience observes workers adapting to challenges, in a highly charged environment. But as the performance unfolds, they begin to question their own role as viewers. In the end, audience members wrestle with what it means to employ someone, anyone, to do a job as part of an artwork.

Artwork was a timely event about testing, teetering on the brink in reaction to caution, conservatism and the status quo. It fills me with hope and certainty that when situations seem at their most dire, they are actually imbued with the greatest potential.

– Vicki Van Hout,  Form

Lee Wilson
Mirabelle Wouters

collaborating artist
Matt Prest

video design
Sean Bacon

sound artist
Phil Downing

set & lighting design
Mirabelle Wouters

John Baylis

Teik Kim Pok

produced by
Harley Stumm for Intimate Spectacle

Artwork will probably have you feeling confused at first – to many it may seem dull, or just plain bizarre – but you come away from it with a sense of having witnessed something pretty special. It makes you think about the way we present ourselves, the value of our images, and the weight of words in very unexpected ways.

– Scott Wallace,  Scoop


Opening Season

Bay17, Carriageworks

Artwork was commissioned by Carriageworks, and was supported by the NSW Government through Arts NSW, and by City of Sydney. Early development was produced by Managing and Producing Services (MAPS) for Artists NSW, a joint initiative of the Australia Council and Arts NSW, managed by Performing Lines.