Underbelly Arts Festival – Cockatoo Island

Engulfed by the subtle harrows of the ocean — unswayed by the gusting, chilled winds — stood the the majestic UNESCO National heritage listed island, by the name Cockatoo. This island stood erect with pride in the current day, still managing to maintain the essence of its penal convict establishment roots – which was now tainted with industrial motors and the convict-made docks.

No wonder, it was a perfect setting for the Underbelly Arts Festival.

Last weekend, the Underbelly Arts Festival  had lived up to their tagline, “Bold new voices in Contemporary Art,” as it gave many art enthusiasts the opportunity dabble between blurred lines of post-modern art and their multiple meanings.

What I liked about the Underbelly Arts Festival was that it had a range of mixed media artworks —  from interactive media to performance art, and more.

‘Holiday Feelings,’ by 110% was a participatory art piece that struck me the most; as an installation work exploring the relationship and the appreciation of art.  Set in an almost Utopian setting of beach recliners and calming sounds of  fountain,  this experience helped one relax from any disturbances one may encounter in our lives. Very interesting!


Another interesting yet rather idiosyncratic art piece that I encountered during my leisurely walk was the ‘Radio Impulse,’ by Pip Stafford. Described in my ultra handy program as “a copper ‘cloud’ suspended in space, gleaning electromagnetic waves turning them into sound.”  Maybe, I’m not quite as much of an open-minded art enthusiast, but all I heard from that cloud was…static.

The Radio Impulse  by Pip Stafford

The Radio Impulse by Pip Stafford

With the Underbelly Arts Festival jam-packed schedule, I couldn’t get around to everything with my one day media pass, and did end up missing a few things. From ‘The Airrarium,’ by Emily Parsons-Lord — a wine-tasting experience in the different air compositions through Earth’s history, to ‘The Becalmed Heart,’ by Brienna Macnish and co — an enchanting and futuristic world made out of  plastic bags; it was a mosaic of all things contemporary and artistic.

All in all, my day-trip to the post-modernist Cockatoo Island was enchanting and insightful in every possible way.

Jenny Hu is a media student from Sydney. When she is not writing for the Plus Ones, she is listening to audiobooks and plotting her next big move in becoming a social media star. Read all her quirky yet charming articles at A Media Medley.

Find out more about the incredible Underbelly Arts, along with their future events and projects here.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Underbelly Arts.