Art and other activities in Katoomba this weekend

Parkour workshops: With acrobatic group, Dauntless Movement Crew. Photo by Alex Wisser
Parkour workshops: With acrobatic group, Dauntless Movement Crew. Photo by Alex Wisser

Contemporary visual art, sound art, a parkour performance, activities for kids and a sausage sizzle are just some of the elements that are included in The Altitude Project’s weekend of free community events, Altitude - The Aviators in Katoomba on February 17 and 18.

Held in two parks that were named after famous aviators, Charles Kingsford Smith and Jimmy Melrose, the weekend explores the themes of aviation and the history of the parks.

Co-curator Miriam Williamson said that, with the current division in the community over aircraft noise from the proposed second Sydney airport, “it seemed timely to draw from this cultural legacy to engage the audience in both history and contemporary art”.  

Historic photo of Kingsford Smith Memorial Park

Historic photo of Kingsford Smith Memorial Park

Altitude – The Aviators takes off on Saturday with internationally acclaimed contemporary artists presenting sound and interactive installation art in Kingsford Smith Memorial Park from 5pm. Audience members can join a séance performance calling on the spirit of celebrity aviator Amy Johnson with artist Jacquelene Drinkall, or become students at “Amy Johnson’s Flight School” in a work by Rachel Peachey and Paul Mosig that uses sensors and real-time processing to explore Kingsford Smith Park through manipulated reality.  

An interactive four-channel sound installation celebrating Johnson’s life, by artists Solange Kershaw and Damian Castaldi, will be installed on the path leading down to the park.  

After dark there will be a laser work by Brad Allen-Waters, a networked LED light installation by Michael Petchkovsky and sound artists Gail Priest and Chris Caines will perform new works live in the historic sound shell. In addition there will be a sound performance by Broken Chip and Ghostgirl.

There will also be a talk by local historian, Paul Innes, on the aviators at the nearby Metropole Guesthouse at 4pm, alongside work by David Brazil.

The Altitude Project has joined forces with Katoomba Neighbourhood Centre and local community group Friends of Melrose Park to bring family entertainment to Melrose Park on Sunday with a performance and workshops by renowned youth parkour and acrobatic group, Dauntless Movement Crew.

Contemporary artists Graham Davis-King, Solange Kershaw and Damian Castaldi will exhibit in the park alongside a jumping castle, stalls and a sausage sizzle.

“We want to engage youth and build new audiences for contemporary art in the Mountains,” said co-curator Mahalya Middlemist.

Altitude - The Aviators is the final part of the Aviator Project and follows on from a successful contemporary art exhibition at historic Linden Observatory in November last year.

One of the organisers, Caroline Wilde, said that they had been “very fortunate” to receive financial support for the project from the Blue Mountains City Council through The City of The Arts Trust and from Create NSW.

In case of heavy rain the event in Kingsford Smith Park will be postponed until the following Saturday, February 24. The event in Melrose Park will go ahead on February 18 but will be relocated to Katoomba North Public School.

Visit the website at www.thealtitudeproject.com. Further details:  thealtitudeprojectbm@gmail.com.