I love thinking of objects as personified beings just going about their daily business until a human comes along and interrupts their trajectory. Considering artworks as objects I had always felt incredibly sad thinking about the friends and family I know who own artworks that never get displayed but live out their lives in storage, under beds or in cupboards for example. This led my collaborator and I to try to formulate a proposal for an exhibition that considered artworks in storage and prompted the viewer to consider the life of an artwork before and after its public display.
I started to wonder what it would be like to live in a world totally informed by Indigenous philosophies. I tutor at a university in the subject of Indigenous cultures and health. We often refer to the concept of the third space. If you can imagine two circles one “western world views” the other “Indigenous world views”, slightly overlapping. This space of overlap is the Third space, where worldviews and philosophies from each sphere inform our actions. It’s not just about acknowledging the existence of the other. So I teach this, as a way for health students to grasp the idea of what it means to decolonise health practice. However I realised, I have no idea what it would feel like to exist in a space totally informed by Indigenous philosophies. This is where the idea to create immersive space came from. However the project has evolved a great deal from this starting point.
A lot of misdirected/undirected/aimless frustration and hope and restlessness.
As one half of Johnson+Thwaites, fragments of The Fraud Complex had been brewing for a while before they became fully-fledged ideas over a few glasses of wine and lively conversation with Pete. There’d been a number of texts, events and artistic practices that we had both encountered that spoke to these ideas of fraudulence, forgery and imposter syndrome, which really drove our curiosity.
At this point in my life I have extreme gratitude for a happy, healthy mind and body. Why should I keep this for myself? My Next Wave work hopes to share this with others. But this work strives for something beyond the effects of the usual suspects – going to a yoga class, having acupuncture, sleeping well, etc. It takes the risk of learning from these understood therapeutic experiences to offer an unlikely encounter with the Self, introspective awareness leading to an outward emanation of clarity, strength and blissfulness. Maybe the effects of the work won’t take hold immediately… I really love when an artwork seeps in over a long period of time, years even, and then… there it is! Something manifests and an irreversible change occurs in you.
Identity. The way we present ourselves to the world. Do we really know who we are? The layers we wrap ourselves in – and what for? How our personality changes depending on who we are with and where we are. How we adjust our personality depending on how others see us.
When I was a small child I spent three years of my life living on site out in Northern Western Australia with my family. It was mum, dad, three kids and a black miniature poodle living in a temporary shipping container in the middle of nowhere. That was home. They had a wet mess and at times there were other children and other women living there. I don’t remember a lot but I have heard endless stories about this strange place. It started as a real adventure, travelling out to the Pilbara and living in the desert. But as time went on my mother found it increasingly difficult and lonely out there. We would lay on the bed together, looking out the window at the rock faces and on the rare occasion that it would rain, the rock face would become a small waterfall. We would sit and watch together. I imagine the rock face crying, reflecting my mother’s emotions. Of course this is my romantic view that is probably not really based in full truth. My mother was a very strong woman. We weren’t exactly Giuliana and her son in Red Desert but sometimes I imagine it this way. I have always made work about the landscape and built spaces and their psychological dimensions. It seems likely that this is related to the fact that I lived in a number of temporary places in my childhood due to the industry my dad was in. It felt like it was time to go back. I actually took my mum with me, which was really special.
A compelling, honest conversation with my mother, which resonated with our team’s interest in looking at intergenerational legacy: what have we inherited and what do we want to pass on, during our finite time on this planet?
A need to express my unabating and ever-building feminist despair.
I had been thinking about the buses that companies provide for their workers in Silicon Valley and other forms of collective gathering through public and privatized transport. My collaborator, Natasha Tontey, suggested the Angkot as the perfect vehicle for the project.
Thinking about the violence of the photographic act and the relationship between documents and pictures.
I spent 4 months travelling in 2014 where I couch-surfed, backpacked, hitchhiked and camped around Europe. Having that much time and distance away from my suburban life in Australia challenged and reaffirmed some concerns I had towards that particular mode of living and more importantly how I wanted to exist within it. The work I am presenting at Next Wave isn’t intended a feasible solution to the excessive suburban model that is still going strong within Australia, instead it will hopefully act as an opportunity for informal public discussion about how economic and political measures impact upon our relationship with geography. Ideally it will become a place for the exchange of practical information and different perspectives.
The introduction of the new metadata laws was minor news – or, people were horrified, and then forgot about it. I think this moment sketched out people’s acceptance of general internet privacy changes, which lead me to contact experts in the field.
I just find it very interesting that in our current period of time I can have people disagree with my Aboriginality just because they don’t think i fit their idea of what an Aboriginal looks like. + 1. Children saying if you’re all Aboriginal then why are some white and some black (Based on an Aboriginal kids show I do) + 2. You’re not Aboriginal you have the same skin colour as me (said a pale Polish man) + 3. You’re not Aboriginal I’m a full blood (said another Aboriginal person) + That is what has sparked this piece which explores what it means to be a modern Aboriginal person.
A constellation of different thoughts, concerns and ideas from both Denise and me that had been swilling around for years – imposter syndrome, passing, double consciousness, trans* identities (gender and otherwise), object orientated ontology, rhizomatic power relations, art frauds and the dark side of emojis.
A frustration at the persistence of the progressivist view of history and the political implications of such a view.
I guess the subject matter of the show is one I have been struggling with for a while. But I can kind of pinpoint the moment to a conversation with another artist, in a pub, after an exhibition.
Anna, my collaborator and I met for breakfast in Melbourne one morning having met a few times when she was over from Perth. We visited some galleries and eventually were at Malthouse loosely talking about narrative and art and working together on something. We emailed a little about it then saw Next Wave’s Emerging Curators Program. We further developed the concept via email and phone calls. We applied and (yay) were invited to participate in the festival.
The idea was sparked from sharing a room with my collaborator Jahra on a residency in Banff in Canada two years ago. We didn’t know each other prior to this and we bonded over dance/shared ideals of sisterhood/Bob’s Burgers/political ideas/music – a particular point of resonation was around the topic of: what it meant to be indigenous, a daughter of diaspora and what it takes to pass as other or as indigenous, the fractured realities of it all.
A quote from Yvonne Rainer from 1966 when she said ‘dance is hard to see’. I was thinking about why dance would be hard to see now, as compared to 1966. How the world had changed, how to talk about ‘seeing’ is always to talk about the spectator, and how the status of the spectator has changed in the world since 1966 until now – like, the difference between the television and the internet and what that means. But then that lead me somehow through many other mini-obsessions and tangents. For a while I was obsessed with surfaces and scrying them for depth, then I was obsessed with holes – blackholes, wormholes, loopholes, plotholes, then I was obsessed with worms – the discovery of The Devil Worm, which is this worm scientists found in pre historic ground water deeper into the earth’s surface than they thought multicell organisms could possibly live, which meant a reevaluation of everything we thought we knew about the conditions required to support life, which I take to mean as that we don’t actually know anything, which means that anything becomes possible, which means that there is still space for dreams and imagination, even in this time. I was also obsessed with gummi worms, their texture and movement. There is a giant gummi worm in my work, like, actual gummi. A real, giant version of a real gummi worm. It is a beautiful and mysterious dancer, and many people have fallen in love with it. Must be something in the way it moves. I was/am still, obsessed with puppets. Watched a lot of documentaries on Jim Henson, and many, many YouTube videos of different muppets. Swedish Chef is of course a favourite. Inspirational, and better than anything I’ve ever seen on Masterchef. I was then obsessed with X-factor, not the tv sort, but the more ambiguous sort, somehow a combination of familiarity and otherness, both safe and mysterious, and how this kind of thing can be produced, or is it true that you can’t produce it, you just have it or you don’t? Now I am obsessed with deserts, how they are a conceptual space and an actual space, how they symbolise the beginning of time and the end of time – it is where the oldest fossils are found and it is the setting for the beginning of many major religious and genesis stories, but it also is the setting for so many apocalypse scenes. It is also a space which promises transformation. And it is a space where mirages happen. I’m interested in mirages, their holographic nature, how you see them even though they aren’t there, which makes the ‘I have to see it to believe it’ thing kind of problematic, or kind of beautiful… Which brings me back to the initial starting point of the politics of ‘seeing’, and to another question, what’s more real: seeing, feeling, or believing? So, yeah, that’s a lot of tangents, but I think there is traces of all those tangents in the work. And also, I’ve never had more than a year to think about making a show, so I guess the luxury of time makes for space to think horizontally…
I saw a production of St Joan in New York City by my favorite theatre company ever, Theatre Bedlam. I was so moved by her story and their performance. I found myself weeping uncontrollably at her execution. After this experience I knew I needed to tell Joan’s story and I wanted to do it here on this land, in Australia, as I wanted my community to hear it.
To be really honest, the work for Next Wave grew out of Next Wave. It was developed in response to the other artists’ projects. Your project particularly fed into my ‘work’. I was struck by your interest in the archive, and capturing the festival for posterity. I wanted my work to function as a counter point – as a non-archive. This, however, is a radical simplification, as it also is a culmination of my reading, and the following of a thought which has no beginning middle or end. Perhaps we are always in the middle, desiring a beginning so as to project an imaginary end. Or, constantly reframing the beginning to match a desired end; we forget the middle.
A shared history of close encounters with the biosphere got us to the Ecosexual part. A bottle of chardonnay on the porch got us to the Bathhouse part.
Living in the area and wanting to feel more complexity.
Pip Stafford’s conversation – create a radio acousmonium made by women artists in public space.
Lorna said we should do it, I said OK.
I’ve had a distinct lack of parenting. I recognised this gap and first wanted to produce videos of myself parenting myself. So, like, I come home from a shitty day and I play a video of me as my parent telling me everything will be okay. This turned into me writing about my experiences growing up.
Visiting (a Monte Young and Marian Zazeelas) Dream House in Tribeca
So many women around me feeling anger at the state of female affairs and feeling alone without an avenue to explore their anger.
I have always been fascinated by YouTubers. Long ago I tried to set up a blog where I interviewed YouTubers. I’ve always been interested in who they are, documenting their lives through video portraiture was a logical choice.
My starting point was my previous work The Well. I made a series of charcoal flags and was thinking about covering the earth with them and joining them together. That led me to the idea of quilting, then I came across the ‘Rajah Quilt’. It was such a surprise that I hadn’t learnt about it at art school. In my mind, it is one of the most important works of Australian art history and exposing it to my community became my mission. I was thinking about fitting squares into circles and circles into squares and the rest kind of just went from there.