There's something a bit eerie about being in a cinema all by yourself. You sit, bathed in the projector light, surrounded by nothing but empty seats and the ghosts of cinemagoers past (if you believe strongly in the magic of cinema).
That's the scenario that faces you as you walk into Hobart-based artist Willoh S Weiland's 'Lick Lick Blink', a ten-minute film experience at the Museum of Contemporary Art as part of The National 2019: New Australian Art. When you rock up to the theatre, you're handed a limited run ice cream from a Messina freezer. They're shaped like a breast – perky nipple and all – and just like a real breast come in all variety of colours and flavours. In fact, there's more diversity in these ice creams than you find on most cinema screens.
As you enter the theatre, there's nothing but a bright spotlight on a single seat. You aren't given any instructions, but it's clear what you're meant to do. We're not going to tell you anything that happens in the film and ruin the surprises, but it quickly becomes clear that you're not quite as alone in the cinema as you first thought. (Although audience participation-phobes needn't worry – nobody literally joins you in the cinema.)
What we can tell you is that the milk-flavoured ice cream (geddit?) is delicious, covered in a crunchy layer of chocolate (we promise you'll remember the crunch...) with caramel and biscuit as you work your way down. We can also tell you that the film stars women from the Older Women’s Network, who happen to be a pretty under-represented demographic in cinema. They subvert the male gaze in cinema in a pretty hilarious way.
There are sessions on selected days from April 27 to June 23 (check the MCA website), and they're all free, including your Messina ice cream. You can't book ahead, but we'd recommend getting there early to put your name down at the first-floor reception desk. And if you have to wait, there's plenty to see at The National exhibition on the third floor.
Need more art in your life? Check out the best exhibitions in Sydney this month.