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Ralph Borland
Sideshow, 2006
Modified shipping container, exhibition and social space
The Containers Village
Next Wave Festival 2006
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The Next Wave Festival is an annual young artist's festival in Australia. In 2006, the Festival coincided with the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, and was part of the Cultural Festival of the Games. Next Wave took as its theme the original name for the Commonwealth Games, 'Empire Games'. Next Wave brought out artists from around the Commonwealth who interpreted and responded to this idea in various ways.

I was part of The Containers Village, allocated one of 43 shipping containers that snaked through a docklands warehouse on two levels. Most of the work in this section was by artist-run collectives. I set up a clubhouse/lounge/gallery called 'Sideshow' to exhibit Political Art and Provocative Technology from around the world. I acted as artist/curator, creating a space for people to hang out, discuss the work on show and formulate subversive ideas of their own.

Large banners from the US activist group the Beehive Collective flanked my container, which was painted with a pattern of swallow silhouettes designed by Peet Pienaar, adapted from his recent AFRO2 magazine. AFRO2 was one of the magazines on the reading counters, along with Public Space, from Cape Town's Circusninja. collective, and Laugh It Off's second annual. I brought out a few election posters from smaller South African political groups and showed them on the front of my container. 120 black crates made a seating area for the occasional beer, or an LED throwie workshop, and together spelled out 'Sideshow' for the people on the walkway above.

Read more about Sideshow on the next page.