The Fremantle Biennale will launch the program for its second edition, UNDERCURRENT 19. Transforming the port city in Western Australia for 3 weeks (November 1-24), the Biennale will present work from over 40 international and Australian artists, architects and designers responding to the history, communities and landscape of the unique port city in Western Australia.

Large-scale artworks, installations, architectural pavilions, dance and music performances and group exhibitions will be presented in hidden and public sites across the city celebrating Fremantle's longstanding history and reputation as a creative city on the edge of the Indian Ocean.

Headlining the program is the internationally acclaimed light installation WATERLICHT by social design lab Studio Roosegaarde founded by award-winning Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde that combines art and technology in urban environments to spark discussions around sustainability for the future.

Highlights for UNDERCURRENT 19 include:

Standing Wave is a sound work echoing from within the submerged politics of the cold war; exploring variable pressure, material acoustics and the intensities of resonance (2-24 November, WA Maritime Museum).

A major new commission by WA artist Bennett Miller, Behavioural Ecologies is a series of interventions, installations and live performances that take place across multiple sites throughout Fremantle.

Combining film and commissioned performance, Pearls and Blackbirds by Australian artist and curator Kelsey Ashe Giambazi examines both dark and light undercurrents of Western Australia’s historically significant pearling industry through contemplation of the lives and stories of female Indigenous pearl divers and Japanese migrants who traversed through the port of Fremantle and Northern WA in the late 19th century.

Somnus, a duration theatrical installation by Theatre of the Sea blurring the boundaries between art and ritual, performers and audience, waking and sleeping states.

Japanese artist Kayako Nakashima will intervene with the architectural fabric of the Old Customs House for Sleeping with the Sun. 

 Radar, a new contemporary dance work by Brooke Leeder & Dancers in collaboration with musician Louis Frere-Harvey and lighting designer Nemo Gandossini-Poirier, will merge dancer, light, live music and electronic tracks in a performance exploring the connection between sirens, sound and human movement.

Australian Contemporary dance artist Sete Tele and Canadian interdisciplinary artist Lisa Hirmer respond to the precarity of water systems around the world in a new participatory project Drinking Water.

UNIT, a trail of architectural and landscape installations on 13 selected waterfront sites within the Victoria Quay, Bathers Beach and Fishing Boat Harbour at Fremantle’s western edge and Midnight Blue Lagoon a series of Sunday dance parties on the balcony of the Maritime Museum by ClubbMedd.

Joining City of Fremantle, University of Notre Dame Australia, Minderoo Foundation and the Australia Council for the Arts as partners will be Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, Water Corporation WA, Western Australian Museum, University of Western Australia, Murdoch University, Artsource and PS Art Space.

Founder and artistic director of the Fremantle Biennale Tom Mùller says: “It is with great excitement that we begin the countdown to the launch of our largest Biennale program next Friday. Artists from across Australia and the world have been creating work over the past year which will see hidden and iconic spaces across the city reimagined, from the industrial port through to the HMAS Submarine. We look forward to unveiling these artworks to our visitors, and welcoming them into the newly built South Mole Resort, a self-proclaimed republic meet art installation with its own spa, tattoo parlour and hotel.”

The full program can be viewed at

Image: Supplied