If you spot a 14-tonne military truck cruising the Civic streets this month, don't panic. If you see it shooting out smoke, bubbles, ecofetti, and snow, continue not to panic.
This hefty magenta beast is the Soul Defender, an ex-military cargo truck from 1984 which has been transformed into urban art, a performance stage and a roving sculpture for this year's Art, Not Apart festival.
The contemporary arts festival, which launched in 2012, is back to inject a bit of soul into the capital on Saturday, March 16.
"We're creating an environment where artists are encouraged to speak to their souls and the souls of Canberrans. Rather than focusing on pretty aesthetics, we're asking artists to speak on the soul," festival producer David Caffery said.
"The city might be built with bricks and mortar, but it should be built on the soul."
This year's official theme is "Soul and Mortar", prompting artists and the public to resist "indifference and inaction" and create and engage in works which help to transform Canberra into a more dynamic space.
During the festival, the Soul Defender will cruise through the Civic streets, even hosting a laneway party. It will also stage performances by Melbourne eight-piece funk band Fulton Street, Chris Endrey's new soul-dance band Canberra's Endrey, and more. The hefty vehicle has a built-in trussing system to be lifted up and down as a stage.
Caffery launched Art, Not Apart with NewActon in 2012, and has produced it each year since. The festival is currently in its third year of a four-year funding commitment from the ACT Government.
The festival will span numerous locations this year, including NewActon, the Shine Dome, and the National Film and Sound Archive.
"This year is a more unified series of artworks," Mr Caffery said.
"We're getting better at curating events that flow from visual art, performance art, film and moving image, music, interactive installation and street art."
NewActon, the Shine Dome, and the National Film and Sound Archive. See the full program at artnotapart.com. March 16, 2019. 1pm-7pm, after-parties 7pm-late. Free.
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