Live Collision international festival: Everything you need to know

Ditch your idea of categories and preconceptions about the live art exhibition at Project

People do strange things. In live art, the things are stranger still, although give it a while and some of them start to make a certain kind of sense. Live art is a sort of renaming of performance art – after the reputation of the latter got a little tattered by art that seemed to prioritise provocative shock and extreme duration over a nicely packaged audience experience: think too many naked people pacing around, shouting at audiences for several hours, while daubed in paint/cobwebs/pig’s blood (whatever you can imagine yourself).

Theatre without narrative? Not quite, Live Art is more an experimental experience where you can come away shaken, stirred, and perhaps profoundly altered. Live Collision, the mini festival of all things performance, musical, exhibition and extraordinary, celebrates its 10th year at Project and features 18 events, including 15 Irish premieres (and two world premieres) by 38 groundbreaking artists from across Ireland and Europe. These include Rachael Young knitting Afrofuturism together with the cult of that most cultish of women: Grace Jones, in NIGHTCLUBBING; so expect a riot (Thursday 25th).

Then get thoughtful with Irish artist Oisín McKenna, getting into class, capitalism and health from the perspective of an ex-pat in London in Admin (Friday 26th); while Cock and Bull, by Nic Green, was originally put together for the eve of the 2015 UK general election – ah yes, remember that (Saturday 27th)?

Some trace Live Art’s roots back to Dada and the wild goings on at the Cabaret Voltaire at the turn of the last century, but it makes more sense if you go back further to ritual, shamanism and art making that wasn’t all about the market. Then, in the 1960s, artists brought their own bodies back into making, and the whole thing started to come full circle again, as art things often do.


Whether you're a devotee or want to sip at Live Art's waters, Live Collision is the event for you. They also do more than pay lip service to the "collision" aspect, with acclaimed artists including Lee Welch and Liliane Puthod weaving work into proceedings in No Feeling is Final, the two-and-a-half hour durational experience/performance that opens the festival on Wednesday 24th.

Leave the precincts of Project and head over to The Chocolate Factory for The Factory Line (Friday 26th), Niamh McCann’s work-in-development looking at the lives of the women, many school-leavers at the age of 13, who worked in Dublin’s factories in the 1960s. Based on verbatim interviews with the women themselves, it should be a fascinating exploration of the basis of many of the freedoms, aspirations and options that women share today.

Then there’s the collaboration between dancer and performer Lisa McLoughlin and mathematician Professor John McLoughlin, exploring care, dependency and interdependency in The Kindness of Strangers (Thursday 25th). Next, catch a tasting platter of new voices and works-in-progress in BITE SIZE//SCRATCH, also on Thursday 25th, giving you the chance for a first look at the bleeding (possibly literally) edge of Live Art.

So where do art and theatre let go, and Live Art step in? The trick is to ditch your idea of categories and preconceptions. Imagine it as a huge experiment, where the performers don’t always know the outcome either, and you’re getting there. A brilliant antidote to all those packaged, commodified and commercialised cultural experiences that make up much of today’s landscape, Live Art is a chance to dip your toe into exciting and sometimes dangerous waters. Yes you run the risk of being alarmed, maybe occasionally bored, discomforted or dismayed. But you may also be exhilarated, excited, enthused, and you just might never look at the world, or yourself in the same way again.

Live Collision, 24th-27th April, Project Arts Centre, Dublin. Some events are free, all require pre-booking.