Now or Never Festival set to Transform the City

Now or Never, the newest digital art and future thinking festival, is set to transform Melbourne this month with an array of cutting-edge experiences. From August 17 to September 2, the festival will feature large-scale outdoor sculptural installations, immersive 360° pop-up dome cinema, and groundbreaking performances exploring the convergence of technology and art.

With over 300 local and internationally-renowned artists, composers, change makers, and innovators participating, the event promises to be a vibrant celebration. The program boasts 18 Australian premieres and 20 festival-exclusive commissions, sure to captivate the imaginations of the audience.

Orchestra Victoria – Photo: Articulate PR

Anticipating more than 200,000 visitors, Now or Never will host more than 70 leftfield music performances, immersive digital art installations, and daytime talks across various venues and precincts in the city.

The festival’s inaugural program will take audiences on a journey at the intersection of art, ideas, sound, and technology, addressing vital questions about our future in the present context.

Autechre – Photo: Articulate PR

Highlights of the program include the return of large-scale live music to the historic Royal Exhibition Building after 20 years, featuring local artists and international headliners like American singer Kelela and English electronic duo Autechre. British artist Max Cooper will present a shifting 3D audio-visual experience.

Curated by Experimenta, a larger-than-life Art Trail in Docklands will ignite a 1.2-kilometre promenade with large-scale works by seven leading contemporary artists. The Neversphere, a giant pop-up dome in the Melbourne Museum forecourt, will immerse audiences in a program of films surrounded by ever-morphing artworks.

The festival will witness exclusive world premieres, such as a new composition commissioned by Now or Never and Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio (MESS), and a performance by Stockholm-based American composer Kali Malone on the grand organ.

Dining with Supernormal will present a multi-sensory, one-of-a-kind dining experience in the Neversphere, allowing diners to immerse themselves in the multimedia works of various artists.

The boundary-pushing Body Crysis/身體災變 will perform a wild hybrid of live and digital art at ACMI after hours, with characters in the digital realm interacting with live dancers in Taipei and Melbourne.

A world premiere by Hungarian artist Laszlo Bordos will bring the Shrine of Remembrance into motion with sculptural illuminations and lighting projections, accompanied by a sonic landscape designed by Czech composer Ondřej Skála.

Photo: Articulate PR

The internationally acclaimed design festival Semi Permanent will present Never Permanent, a series of talks and panels celebrating the intersection of creativity and technology, headlined by Roman Coppola.

Over two epic nights, NONSTOP WKND will offer an all-access pass to experience the future of Melbourne’s live and electronic music scene at iconic venues.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp expresses excitement about the event, expecting it to be one of the highlights of the year, drawing visitors from across Australia and the world.

Now or Never is poised to showcase Melbourne’s innovative and futuristic programming, firmly placing the city on the world map of experimental arts and culture. With its diverse and compelling program, the festival promises an unforgettable experience for all attendees.

Now or Never will be running from 17 August to 2 September 2023. For more information and the full program, visit the festival’s website here.

-Brenton Spink

Will trade my soul for Pizza