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One woman and three men standing against a wall wearing white, semi transparent ponchos with hoods, with a yellow image with three car images and the word 'Midibishi' projecting onto their faces and bodies.

A 1981 Mitsubishi Sigma will make a nostalgic return to the Main Assembly Building (MAB) at Tonsley in July as part of a unique SALA exhibition and artistic performance celebrating the site’s auto-manufacturing history.

The exhibition project, titled MIDIBISHI, will see the GH sedan transformed into an interactive sculpture that broadcasts evocative automotive soundscapes composed by three Adelaide artists.

MIDI (Musical Instrument Design Interface) sound technology sensors attached to the car will enable it to respond to touch, allowing it to be played like a musical instrument by the troupe of performers during three live shows.

Project curator Emily Collins said the MIDIBISHI creative team had been exploring their common history as descendants of migrants who worked in factories, when they came up with the idea of capturing industrial sounds from factories across Adelaide.

She said Tonsley’s past as a hub of high-value manufacturing made it the perfect backdrop for a performance and sculpture installation highlighting these industrial sounds.

“We are bringing art to a former industrial site because artists are often inspired by the industrial,” Ms Collins said.

“We really wanted to explore and capture the creativity of the manufacturing industry, and the rituals of working on a production line because it’s something that resonates with the people of Adelaide.”

An older Midibishi parked vehicle painted white.

The show will feature carefully curated compilations of audio and video recordings from Mitsubishi Motors Australia Ltd, images from the National Motor Museum’s historical archives as well as sounds inspired by Mitsubishi’s Japanese origins. These include noises emitted from air compressors and conveyor belts along with the sound of metal clanging.

“There will be laser lights, synthesisers and smoke machines to give the performance an aesthetic that references the 80s vintage of our Sigma,” Ms Collins said.

Renewal SA Precinct Director for Tonsley Innovation District, Philipp Dautel said he hoped the exhibition would inspire the manufacturers and innovators of today.

“There is so much cross over between the arts and innovation,” Mr Dautel said.

“People who work in both fields are, at their core, creatives, so it’s exciting for Tonsley workers to have this new type of energy around them.

“The MAB is designed to be a space of collaboration and idea generation, so who knows what this exhibition might uncover.”

Arts Minister Andrea Michaels said the MIDIBISHI project was given funding through an ARTS SA Independent Artists and Groups grant earlier this year.

“South Australia has such a rich pool of talented artists, who are all re-emerging post pandemic with a fresh bank of unique performance ideas,” she said.

“This exhibition and show are great examples of that. Manufacturing is something that is sentimental to our State, so to have that be the focus of a performance taking place at a former car manufacturing plant is the perfect synergy.”

The MIDIBISHI sculpture will be installed in the MAB at Tonsley from 15 July to 31 August 2022, with three live performances delivered during that time.


Thursday 28 July - 5pm

Saturday 13 August - 5pm (SALA show)

Saturday 27 August - 5pm (SALA show)

The MIDIBISHI performances are under cover in the open-aired MAB. Audiences are advised to prepare for an immersive, winter wonderland spectacle – rug up, and bring a blanket and deck chair.

Performances are free, family friendly and fully accessible. Bookings are encouraged:

The MIDIBISHI creative team consists of project curator Emily Collins and artists David Kotlowy, Dexter Campos and Eric Bagnara.

They are skilled across a range of sound and visual artforms, including music composition and performance, video installation, curating and design.

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