Thank you for tuning in! This is the spot in which I'll be documenting my creative research during the Covid-19 social distancing period, as part of the Museum of Brisbane (MoB)'s ARTISTS@HOME Residency.
It strikes me that this is a perfect opportunity in which to come back to our own practices, re-evaluate and mourn the systems that supported our practice thus far (which I'm sure we can all acknowledge was at least in part already broken), and take some time to work out how we'll be interfacing with an even more precarious arts ecology from here on in. I want to acknowledge that I'm in an extremely privileged position to not only be safe and secure, but also to have the space and support to focus on my practice and plan for the future. A massive thanks therefore goes to the MoB team for creating such a supportive, artist-centred residency at short notice to facilitate this period of creative self-examination, and for providing me this opportunity to share it.
So, welcome to my studio! This beautiful portrait was taken by my good friend and photographer Megan Keene (check her work out here!)
My working space is exactly what is presented here- a skinny table and bookcase situated in the corner of the living space, in my Queenslander sharehouse on unceded Jagera & Turrbal Country. I live with fellow performance and installation artist, Saara and theatre-trained educator and bamboo artist, Jamie. I'm lucky enough to be able to live somewhere with enough space below the house for a movement/yoga area, a workshop and ample storage for everyone. However, in our home, we are always negotiating both physical space and aural space. Being a house of three active, creative introverts, while one of us might be craving quiet time, another might be playing music while creating performances, doing vocal drills, using sewing machines or power tools. This has definitely been more pronounced as we are obviously all leaving the house much less at the moment!
After experiencing burnout for the first time at the end of 2019 (though I now realise it was a long time coming), I was already thinking about the energetic sustainability of my own artistic practice when Covid-19 hit. This is especially relevant as I do not conceive of my practice as being in any way seperate from my own life. My practice is social, collaborative, embodied, situated and personal. It weaves together diverse strategies and philosophies for living (or coping) well in my own context, which in this case is a millennial, colonial, neoliberal and urban context (among other intersections!) However, art, psychology, philosophy, political visioning and embodied practices have all made me better able to rehabilitate my nervous system, calm the existential dread, find a more renewable source of energy for which to keep going, and keep myself healthy during lockdown. This couldn't have been done without my network of friends, peers, collaborators and professional support services, many of whom have been thinking about these themes for much longer than I have. I hope to bring a small collection of these folks into the conversation over the next six weeks!
During this residency, I'll be publishing my investigation into 'immaterial labour', which is the idea that value can be produced from affective and cognitive activities (not just physical activities), which in various ways are commodified in contemporary capitalist economies. This produces specific questions for artists such as:
How can/do we value the production of knowledge and experiences that artists bring to their practice, which often include uncanny, spiritual, connective, social or cultural experiences during moments of recreation?
What about all the time spent “composting” ideas? How can this be measured? Composting is hard when you are working all the time and focusing on the outcome!
Knowledge and ideas don’t get created in a vacuum. If we accept that all ideas are collectively produced, does that change how we can value art production?
Is it possible to separate value systems anymore when capitalism has subsumed almost all of them?
Yes, they are all massive questions, so let's begin untangling it together!
I'm very much looking forward to it,