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Although they’ve helped give the city the reputation it has today, Bristol’s thriving art and electronic music scenes rarely overlap. Submerge, a new hybrid arts festival in Bristol, hosts a weekend of immersive and mind blowing events melding cutting edge performance, audiovisual art and electronic music from around the world.

Olivier De Sagazan. Photo: Didier Carluccio

 

Submerge Festival will take place over eight day and night-time events, each designed to give audiences a unique mix of musicians and artists who wouldn’t normally be shown together, featuring everything from digital and audiovisual art, distorted electronica, experimental music and international performance, to DJs playing the best in underground dance.

Festival Director Mike Pony has been curating performance events and club nights for over 10 years, and developed the idea for Submerge after producing The Storm for Bristol's In Between Time, in 2015. Submerge’s programme has been created around the theme of “fathoms”, plunging audiences into the deep with home grown and international artists presented in a range of unusual and unfamiliar venues. These include an 18th century church, a former coroner’s court and mortuary, and the unexplored vaults beneath Colston Hall.

DIVE 2, Koreless. Photo: Joanne Lemercier

 

Highlights of the festival include...

DIVE (18th November) – an audiovisual concert culminating in a performance of The Well by contemporary electronic musician Koreless (Young Turks). It’s a show which blurs the lines between sound, light and visual art; an immersive performance presented in collaboration with visual artist Emmanuel Biard. In the words of the artist, “We’re literally shaking lasers with music, it’s about intense, beating frequencies; a really physical relationship between sound and light.”. Emmanuel Biard has previously worked closely with Fabric (London) and as part of Hoya:Hoya (Manchester). The Well was originally commissioned and developed by FutureEverything and the British Council.

GHOSTS (Sat 19th November)  – France-based performer and sculptor Olivier de Sagazan presents Transfiguration, seen in the 2011 film Samsara. Sagazan uses clay and paint to perform live, human sculpture in which his own face is the canvas. Audiences will experience the artist building layer upon layer of clay, paint and hair onto his face before shedding them all to reveal what he calls, “an animalistic human who is seeking to break away from the physical world”. Sagazan has developed his hybrid practice for 20 years; as he deforms himself with clay and paint he enters into a dance. Transfiguration is beautiful and disturbing, and not to be missed in this rare UK performance.

THE ASCENT (Sat 19th November) – Producers Rrose (EAUX) and Octo Octa (100% SILK / Running Back) deliver headline DJ sets of dark electronic dance music. Detroit producer Rrose is known for her hypnotic techno compositions, which are influenced by pre-techno, electronic music and the avant-garde. Brooklyn-based Octo Octa delivers meticulously-sculpted sonics and primal dance-floor functionality; she received a Red Bull Music Academy residency in Manhattan as well as coveted gigs at Berlin’s Panorama Bar, Frankfurt’s Live At Robert Johnson, and Barcelona’s Sonar Festival. The Ascent also features live performance from johnsmith, Project O and Steakhouse Live.

Submerge Festival is Arts Council England funded and has received support from Theatre Bristol, Mayfest, Watershed, Crack Magazine and Colston Hall. In its first year Submerge Festival will showcase over twenty artworks, from an extremely diverse mix of artists.

Submerge runs 18-20th November at various venues in central Bristol. The full programme is available to view online at http://www.submergefestival.co.uk/