A Night At The Fluidity Art Show

Words: Faith Thurnwald
Fluidity: the ability of a substance to flow easily.


The underground art scene of Brisbane (Meanjin) never fails to impress. I make my way to Riot Collective’s event, Fluidity. We drive out from the city lights and into the industrial train station streets. Fluidity is Brisbane’s first ‘fluid’ event; celebrating non-binary and gender queer artists. Fluidity seems to me, the perfect term. As defined by the oxford dictionary, fluidity is the ability of a substance to flow easily, reminding us that gender is fluid and exists outside our societal constraints.

Fluidity marks Riot Collectives second event. Riot Collective is run by the Brisbane artist, curator and powerhouse; ATOMICX. ATOMICX not only runs Riot Collective, but also managed to start up No Order in 2021, a Brisbane based magazine, which highlights and curates emerging artists in the underground art scene. ATOMICX is one to watch, click here for more about the artist who has their finger on the pulse of all things up and coming from the underground.


I arrive and miss the bar, which is right at the front door. After some dazed and confused misdirection, I find it, back where I started. Drink in hand, it’s time to have an explore. The night consists of poetry readings, performance art, DJ sets and visual art decorating the walls of VENTspace.


Red Lady exhibits their self-published first collection of poetry, titled Fluidity. Red Lady is a multidisciplinary artist with their photography and poetry both exhibited in the event, which they helped curate (along with ATOMICX). Red Lady reads a few poems from their collection, which is not only linguistically impressive, but also visually pleasing, in this Red Lady dabbles with graphic poetry: verbal and visual. In an excerpt from ‘Scarred’ Red Lady plays with imagery in the use of gustatory and tactile denotations: Stuck/Stung/Summoned/Tasted and/Dried. Here the use of sibilance also increases the effect this poem has on the reader’s senses.  The poems seen in ‘Fluidity’ are predominantly free verse, with themes of identity, existing in a liminal space: floating, healing and acceptance.

DJ sets and cigarettes and the night continues. There’s a shortage of Rosé, which is probably a good thing, I have to be up early in the morning. However I don’t Cinderella it before seeing Micah Rustichelli’s live performance art. Micah performs an endurance piece, with two mannequins hoisted in the air again and again. The mannequins are wrapped in rope; bound in bondage as they are heaved into the air, while Micah simultaneously slathers themselves in paint. Micah mixes paint, mythology and religion. A confessional box sits next to them as they perform, a missed opportunity as I confess to nothing, but I do wonder, what would’ve I wrote? Micah’s work lives in the underbelly of mythology and religion, playing with the problematic Greek gods and all the delicious ceremonial BDSM we can perhaps derive in response to religion.


Micah Rustichelli’s fluid flow of flying mannequins and Red Lady’s floating, fluid poetry is just two of the performances of the night, many more artists and poets alike took to the stage and decorated the walls. The poetry was raw and real, with each poet bearing their soul, in their trauma and truth. The night was just the beginning for a new wave of art, where conformity and binary constraints are a relic of the past, just like that jar growing mold in your fridge – it’s time to throw the fucker out!