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books June 23, 2018

‘From the Wreck’ author Jane Rawson

Combining a real-life shipwreck and an alien octopus doesn’t seem an obvious way to explore the impact of mankind on the environment, but, for author Jane Rawson, the message in From the Wreck couldn’t be more imperative. “We’re very keen to look elsewhere and say, ‘Oh, this is terrible in developing countries’ … We seem to be blissfully unaware that some of the worst deforestation in the world is happening in Australia … We have one of the worst extinction records in the world.”

music June 16, 2018

Dark Mofo guest artist Laurie Anderson

Laurie Anderson has been a creative pioneer for decades, working across genre, time and place. Now 71 and still prolific, she continues to push boundaries with virtual reality projects. “You, yourself, your body kind of disappears and you have this incredible freedom to fly and to observe things that you wouldn’t be able to do in your body. So it’s almost like you’re as free as your imagination and you become your own imagination. It’s very, very thrilling.”

art June 9, 2018

Patricia Piccinini’s changing nature

Artist Patricia Piccinini’s sculptures of hybrid and transgenic species evoke a future where the environment is dramatically changed by human intervention – whether for better or worse is in the eye of the beholder. “We don’t create for art’s sake, for beauty’s sake. We create to make the world ‘a better place’, but are we actually doing that?”

film June 2, 2018

Yolanda Ramke’s auteur layers

Screenwriter and actor Yolanda Ramke has now added directing to her list of achievements, turning her 2013 Tropfest zombie short Cargo into a feature-length film with the backing of Netflix, and bringing a distinctly Australian subtext to international viewers. “Ultimately, this is a story about parents and children, and about what we’ll do to protect and preserve those we love.”

culture May 26, 2018

Ai Weiwei’s lens on humanity

The artist Ai Weiwei refuses to shy away from tragedy or grief, working with an uncomfortable proximity between art and subject. He speaks on the release of his film on the refugee crisis, Human Flow. ‘It’s not just understanding. It requires you to find a language, so that you can give dignity to the subject matter.’ The line is cotton-thin.

theatre May 19, 2018

Playwright Patricia Cornelius takes centre stage

She’s a writer whose plays have been widely lauded by critics but largely neglected by the mainstream. Now Patricia Cornelius’s work will take its place on the main stage. “It sounds so hifalutin, but my ambition was really just to be able to create great work … that I felt soared. It never entered my mind that it would happen in the mainstream.”

music May 12, 2018

Angel Olsen on turning fandom to stardom

When Angel Olsen first found community in the Chicago indie music scene, she was an unabashed fan-girl. Now she’s an accomplished artist who commands the stage with a voice that is pliant and pitch perfect. “Something changed when I got introduced to indie music. Then later someone was like, ‘You need to listen to Leonard Cohen, you need to listen to Fairport Convention, King Crimson, The Velvet Underground…’ And I was like, ‘Okay, this is it.’ ”

books May 5, 2018

Writer Carmen Maria Machado

Author Carmen Maria Machado comes at issues through award-winning short stories and probing essays, teasing out truths about gender politics and body image. “The compulsive-reflexive nature of fatphobia is just really deep and I feel that it’s not a thing we talk about a lot … There’s different kinds of fat, there’s the kind of fat that I am, which is, like, bigger than is acceptable but also fits in plus-size clothing, and there’s the kind of fat that means the world is inaccessible to you.”

art April 28, 2018

Nick Mitzevich’s vision for the NGA

As he prepares to take the reins as artistic director of the National Gallery of Australia, Nick Mitzevich talks about a fresh and controversial approach to the nation’s largest art collection. “As a national institution that has a responsibility in leading debate and a cultural agenda, it’s important there is a strong point of view. I don’t mean bias, I mean passion for putting artists at the centre of things.”

music April 21, 2018

Evelyn Ida Morris’s piano forte

After a decade of critical acclaim as Pikelet, musician Evelyn Ida Morris is releasing the first music under their own name – a grand suite of piano songs, both sung and speechless, about the experience of being non-binary. “Non-binary is very strange, because it’s about preserving that internal space, and feeling proud of it, and finding ways to communicate it.”

art April 14, 2018

Artists Soda_Jerk remixing Australian history

Following the outrage over their “unAustralian” video opus Terror Nullius, artists Dominique and Dan Angeloro reflect on their collective practice as Soda_Jerk. “We always had this idea that we wanted Terror Nullius to be a film somewhere between the arthouse and grindhouse. A piece of art that embraces bad taste or maybe a piece of bad taste that aspires to be art.”