David Chisholm is a composer with an international practice defined through diverse and hybrid collaboration. David is founder, CEO and Artistic Director of the Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music.

David Chisolm

David's project

Over six months, David will work with local and international collaborators to develop his most ambitious work to date, Into the Darkness. The project will see David collaborate with Finnish live art duo Harrie Liveart to create a six-hour long music, projection, video and performance event that will take over the UNESCO world heritage listed Suomenlinna, a sea fortress off the coast of Helsinki. During the development period David will host his collaborators in Bendigo to commence planning and experimentation. David will then travel to Finland for further planning on site and to continue his compositions. During the project, David will introduce the Harrie Liveart team to local organisations and potential collaborators, he will also create opportunities for Victorian musicians to be involved in this major international work which will be presented in Finland in 2020.

What does being awarded a Creators Fund grant mean to you?
It is an extraordinary and unique fund, and as an inaugural recipient it’s hard to locate the meaning beyond the immediate material reality. It’s significant I know, but I’m still trying to figure out what it actually means. Artists generally speaking fly close to the breeze financially. That we survive at all is fascinating economics study, but above all else these last couple of months, I’ve found myself being able to say “Look no, I won’t apply for this part-time position, or that grant” - its given me an internal sense of choice. It’s brought me time.

How important is 'time' to you, as an artist/creative professional?
Time is everything. I cannot overstate that. Paramount. Essential. Time is all any of us ever really have and often we are time compromised by systemic necessities. Time is freedom.

What's the first thing you did when you found out you were awarded a Creator's Fund grant?
Re-read the email. Then I rang my best friend Glyn. Then a few more friends. I talked a lot. I actually couldn't quite believe it. I still can’t honestly.

What are you most looking forward to over the months ahead?
Time to think deeply. I know this will buy me the time I need to redirect the way I approach my practice. And to solve such formal and temporal challenges as a six-hour work, well if I can add something that other artists can look to, love or hate, but to look at as an option. To claim such time is rare. I hope to add another possibility to long form.

Where would like to see yourself at the end of this process? How do you anticipate your career will develop as a result?
I have big hopes for this work. But I must avoid speculation about career. I feel like I will be able to really nail this work. Career planning for artists is for the most part herding cats. I’d love to say it will do X Y and Z, and look it probably will, but after 27 years in this sector its unpredictability remains its most constant theme.