For its 20th anniversary, the festival celebrates all aspects of design: guests range from the visual data journalist who wants to change the way we read and perceive data, to musician Ta-ku, furniture designer Jonathan Saunders and even the Betoota Advocate team.
When it launched in 2002, Semi Permanent began as an idea – “an excuse to connect with new and old friends. A way to show the enthusiasm I had for creativity internally, externally”, according to Founder and Executive Creative Director Murray Bell. Since then it has evolved into a branded studio – which has worked with Heaps Normal, Slack, Google and more – and has hosted more than 50 events in 13 cities. Last year it made a takeover full of the Paramount House Hotel in Surry Hills, and past events have included international guests such as skateboarder Tony Hawk and street artist Mr Brainwash, and locals Reg Mombassa and Del Kathryn Barton.
This year, to celebrate 20 years of the festival of creativity and design, it is launching its largest program ever, with workshops, round tables, performances and installations. Over 25 speakers were announced today, with more to be confirmed by the start of the festival on May 25. And with the reopening of borders, talent is once again arriving from all over the world.
There’s Mona Chalabi, a British visual data journalist, who has over 400,000 followers on Instagram – where she maps everything from how many times actors have appeared in Wes Anderson films to the cost of potential Covid treatments -19 on colorful images, resembling cartoons. charts – and wants to change the way we read and understand data.
Other guests include Perth-based musician and artist Ta-ku, renowned furniture and textile designer Jonathan Saunders, typographic designers Jazlyn Fung and Tony Wong, and even the Lawyer Betoota team.
Balarinji is an Indigenous-owned design agency that works with brands to showcase Indigenous culture and arts in corporate environments and the public realm in a respectful and collaborative way; Sam Elsom is a fashion designer and founder of Sea Forest, which grows seaweed in Tasmania to help solve the climate crisis; female-led production house Dollhouse Pictures encourages female storytelling in a traditionally male industry; and Australian-born Richard Christiansen applies his two decades of experience at the top of the US advertising industry to his lifestyle project, Flamingo Estate.
This year’s theme is “prospects,” which Bell says was partly inspired by the soul-searching and nostalgia sparked by reaching two decades of semi-permanence, and partly by how the pandemic has leads so many of us to question our lives. It also means a greater diversity of talents, creative forms and thoughts – in other words, a wider range of perspectives within the festival itself.
A new part of the festival is also launching this year: the Permanent Art Book Fair, which will bring together more than 30 of the region’s best publishers, artists and designers to showcase their products – from zines and posters to large-scale monographs and serial artists.
Half-day, full-day and multi-day tickets are available now.