Overview, Images
Collective Agitation, Collective Polyphony, Blindside, 2023. Photograph Sebastian Kainey. Courtesy the artists.

Collective Polyphony Festival

Seaweed Appreciation Society (SASi), Lichen Kelp, Jess Cockerill, Luna Mrozik Gawler (Cryptogamic Alliance), Collective Agitation, Camille Perry, Luca Zudich, Lara Young, Isabella Ford, Ecological Gyre Theory - Chantelle Mitchell and Jaxon Waterhouse

13 Sep–7 Oct 2023

Art collectives have become a transforming feature of the global art landscape over the past couple of decades, representing a shift towards an alternative way of operating. Diverging from the idealisation of individualism in art and society towards more supportive and collaborative structures, the concept behind artist collectives serves as a powerful symbolic and political gesture.

Collective Polyphony began when artist Nina Sanadze decided to give up her opportunity for a solo show at Gertrude Contemporary, to share the coveted space with members of her collective – Seven – as a way of initiating a positive rejection of the idea of elitism. Knowing that her ongoing move towards peace-building begins with community-building, Nina was creating the conditions for an organic cooperative model that serves as a symbolic action of unity, so desperately needed in today’s political landscape.

Having grown into a festival-like event celebrating and fostering artist collectives, Collective Polyphony will investigate modes of collective organisation and collaboration as a cornerstone and model of peace-building infrastructure and architecture in our polarised society. The event will present a series of socially engaged exhibitions, tiered openings, talks, workshops, performances and public events by various collectives across multiple art spaces in Victoria in September 2023. The project will also be documented in a formal publication and dedicated website.

Each collective will be encouraged to work within their unique themes and agendas to develop new work or show existing projects. With a particular focus on nurturing emerging and lesser-known artists, the event will benefit/present 10+ collectives, consisting of 50+ individual artists, from varying social demographics concerned with the most urgent social-political matters including indigenous, gender diverse and culturally diverse groups. The project will also be celebrating audience contribution and involvement through scheduled interactive activities.

Participating collectives currently include Seven Artist Collective, Parakind Collective, Seaweed Appreciation Society, Collective Agitation, Saluhem Collective, Women’s Art Register, Matter in Flux, Public Assembly and more to be confirmed. Participating exhibition spaces are Gertrude Glasshouse, Blindside, Seventh Gallery, Centre for Projection, Stockroom in Kyneton and Caspa Gallery in Castlemaine. The program will also include interventions in various public spaces.

Growing up within the Soviet communist regime and then living her adult life in democratic Australia, Nina Sanadze is interested in orchestrating an event that goes beyond politics by reconciling and harnessing any positive aspects that can be found in both systems. Other influences include existing examples of community, peer support, mutual trust and creative collaboration that can be seen naturally occurring within Indigenous communities as well as music collectives, among others, each providing an inspirational social template.

As a member of both Seven and Parakind collectives, Nina embraces the major role each has played in fostering and supporting her throughout her artistic career. Evolving naturally from her belief in the potential for creativity-based relationships to remedy problematic interpersonal experiences within politically and socially polarised communities, friend groups and even families, Collective Polyphony will explore ways of re-casting and overcoming points of difference in search of a more collaborative world.

Artistic Director  Nina Sanadze

Curatorial Team   Georgina Loughnan, Thomas Stoddard, Yu-zhen Cheng, Mia Palmer-Verevis, Xiaolin Chen

Photographer Astrid Mulder

Collective polyphony Festival - view full program online
Onsite, Exhibition

Collective Polyphony Festival is founded upon the central idea of artists supporting artists as well as community and peace-building. Immerse yourself in the vibrant and inclusive event that will captivate Melbourne + Kyneton from 2 September till 28 October 2023. Throughout September 2023, staggered openings mark the launch of all exhibitions.

Modelling peace-building architecture and infrastructure, the Collective Polyphony Festival is a ground-breaking multi-space event that fosters and nurtures emerging and established artist collectives.This extraordinary gathering brings together 10 local and international artist collectives across 7 exhibition spaces, celebrating collective organisation and collaboration.

Collectives: Pitcha Makin Fellas, Gudskul: Ruangrupa,  Serrum, Grafis Huru Hara collectives, ShrewD Collective, Chinese Museum Arts Collective, LAST Collective,  Saluhan Collective, Collective Agitation, London Alternative Photography Collective, Seaweed Appreciation Society international, In-Kind Collective

Exhibition Spaces: Blindside (CBD), Gertrude Glasshouse (Collingwood), Daine Singer (Brunswick), Stockroom (Kyneton, VIC) , Testing Ground (CBD, Victoria Market), Mary Cherry (Collingwood), Seventh Gallery (Richmond)

For Collective Polyphony Festival exhibitions, each collective is encouraged to work within their unique themes and agendas to develop new work or show existing projects. Just as in music, where polyphony weaves together distinct melodies to create a harmonious whole, Collective Polyphony Festival embraces a narrative and artistic approach that welcomes multiple perspectives, voices, and ideas. At a time when communities are socially and politically fragmented, Collective Polyphony Festival seeks to reimagine the world through a multifaceted but united lens.

Collective Polyphony Festival Blindside opening event: 14 Sep 2023, 8am–10am
Collective Polyphony Festival workshop: Collective Agitation Uninstructing Photography: 28 Sep 2023, 7:30am–9:30am

This program takes place on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We recognise that sovereignty was never ceded - this land is stolen land. We pay respects to Wurundjeri Elders, past, present and emerging, to the Elders from other communities and to any other Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders who might encounter or participate in the program.


Collective Polyphony Festival: Fossilised Sunshine
Collective Polyphony Festival, Blindside 2023. Fossilised Sunshine by Collective Agitation + London Alternative Photography Collective. Courtesy the artists.
Onsite, Exhibition

13 Sep–7 Oct 2023

Collective Polyphony Festival: Fossilised Sunshine

Collective Agitation, Camille Perry, Lara Young, Isabella Ford, Luca Zurich

Collective Polyphony Festival: Macroalgae Mobilisation
Collective Polyphony Festival: Macroalgae Mobilisation
Onsite, Exhibition

13 Sep–7 Oct 2023

Collective Polyphony Festival: Macroalgae Mobilisation

Seaweed Appreciation Society (SASi)

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The Nicholas Building

Room 14, Level 7, 37 Swanston Street

Melbourne, Victoria, 3000

Wednesday – Saturday, 12-6pm
Closed on public holidays
(+61) 3 9650 0093

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Working on unceded sovereign land of the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation, Blindside pays respect to Elders, past, present and emerging.


Working on unceded sovereign land of the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation, Blindside pays respect to Elders, past, present and emerging.