Aphids is an artist born in Australia, currently working in Australia.
Aphids image

Founded in 1994, Aphids is a small, artist-led cultural organisation creating collaborations across artforms and borders. Based in Melbourne, Aphids undertakes cross-artform projects usually involving contemporary music, international cross-cultural exchanges and collaborations.

Aphids has worked with hundreds of artists in Australia and overseas, with backgrounds in music, theatre, performance, writing, puppetry, architecture, design, visual art, fashion, film, multimedia, digital art, dance, sound art and lighting.

Aphids has presented work in Australia, Asia, Europe, South Africa, Central America and the USA.

Aphids has a strong commitment to supporting artists through mentoring, project management, resource sharing and auspicing. This has been formalised in Aphids’ Residencies and Mentoring Scheme for young and emerging artists working in music and cross-artform practice, established with the support of the Sidney Myer Fund.

In 2009, Aphids program included:
The presentation of 21 projects regionally, nationally and internationally. This included the creation of Radiobots by Matthew Gardiner presented in Shepparton; and the facilitation by Margie Mackay of The Crows – Bangari Kundma-rindma as part of the Bundaleer Forest Festival.
Aphids’ 2009 national and international touring program included Rosemary Joy’s System Building to the Melbourne Recital Centre Carriageworks in Sydney, Radialsystem V in Berlin, and Noorderzon Festival in The Netherlands; Care Instructions at La Mama in Melbourne and Transit Festival VI in Denmark; A Quarreling Pair to La MaMa E.T.C in New York; and Yakumo Honjin to Matsue in Japan.
Aphids also presented 141 performances which included Xantolo at the Melbourne Recital Centre; and David Young’s seminal work A Thousand of Bundled Straw at the Melbourne Recital Centre.

In 2008, Aphids’ program included the Aphids Reel Music Festivalat the Australian Centre for the Moving Image featuring projects from Japan, Italy and Australia; the theatrical production Care Instructions at La Mama; and the creative development of Margaret Cameron and David Young’s instructive performance work So You Think You Can Cow

In 2007-8, Aphids toured the miniature percussion work, Underground to:
• LiveArt Festival, Carriageworks, Sydney
• The Australian Performing Arts Market, Adelaide Festival Centre
• The Hague, Holland, with the Slagwerkgroep Den Haag at the Filmhuis Den Haag at part of Festival Classique;
• Bains::Connective, Brussels, Belgium;
• Castel Burio, Piemonte, Italy;
• Lake Shinji, Shimane, Japan.
• Espacio Cultural Metropolitano de Tampico, Mexico

In 2007, Aphids presented the Val Camonica Pieces, a chamber music and multimedia production with the Libra Ensemble, inspired by rock-carvings in Italy’s Camonica Valley, presented as part of Full Tilt at the Arts Centre; Music at Mt Egerton, a music theatre collaboration in an old clay mine in regional Victoria; Small Quiet Gestures, including exhibition and performances of miniature percussion at Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts; A Quarreling Pair puppet production at the Castlemaine State Festival, and the CD release of the song cycle Thousands of Bundled Straw.

In 2006/07, Aphids was inaugural company-in-residence at Federation Square. The Age wrote of the Schallmachine collaboration with Swiss percussionist Fritz Hauser and Speak Percussion that it ‘reminds us of the complex relationship of sound to space, as well as to alert us to how much of our built environment we take for granted. It also forces a reflection on the notion of audience as collective experience, a direct challenge to the simulacrum aesthetic of mass media entertainment.’ The project was presented in Basel, Switzerland in January 2007. Aphids also initiated and managed the New Music Machine: seven independent new music groups combining forces to present an intense series of concerts and performances in November 2006.

In 2005, Aphids presented Matt Gardiner’s remarkable multimedia work, Oribotics [laboratory] at the Sidney Myer Asia Centre. With the Libra Ensemble, David Young’s song cycle, Thousands Of Bundled Straw, was featured in the Melbourne International Arts Festival. 2004 included a one month residency with Brussels-based MUSiCLAB at Bains::Connective, a socio-artistic laboratory in a disused, art-deco indoor swimming pool. Three Aphids artists collaborated with three musicians to create a new work Scale that was presented at the end of residency.

The triptych of small puppet plays, A Quarreling Pair, was presented at the 2004 Melbourne International Arts Festival, with a return season at The Malthouse Theatre in 2006 and in the Castlemaine State Festival in April 2007. The Melbourne International Arts Festival commissioned two Aphids events in 2003. Skin Quartet is a digital video projection by visual artist Louisa Bufardeci with music for string quartet by David Young. It premiered at the Anna Schwartz Gallery. Yasutaka Hemmi led the quartet, with Stephanie Lindner, Jason Bunn and Caerwen Martin. ABC Classic FM’s New Music Australia recorded the work for broadcast, and the DVD is now available. In 2005, Skin Quartet toured to the Sydney Opera House, Time Based Arts Festivals in Portland, USA; Bains::Connective in Brussels and the Wits University in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Also at the 2003 Melbourne International Arts Festival, Japanese violinist Yasutaka Hemmi starred in Fight With The Violin, together with live martial arts by the Melbourne Budokai. Yasutaka premiered new, impossibly-difficult works for solo violin amid wooden swords, armour and meditation. Melbourne composer Kate Neal composed a piece especially for the event.

The major Danish/Australian collaboration Maps took place in the North Melbourne Town Hall (2000) and in Copenhagen’s Musicological Institute (2002). This radical and critically acclaimed music theatre installation work involved artists, musicians and composers from Denmark, Japan and Australia and took the audience throughout every part of the respective venues, from the basement to the belltower.

In 1999, the company produced its first international event, Ricefields, which toured to Le Centre Choreographic in Belfort, France. Later that year, Aphids toured the work to Japan, in the regional Japanese city of Matsue and in Tokyo at Gallery 21 in Ginza, followed by a season at MetroArts in Brisbane and the Performance Space in Sydney.