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film September 22, 2018

‘Dark Tourist’ documentary-maker David Farrier

Where once he was Tickled, New Zealand documentary-maker David Farrier has most recently devoted himself to visiting ghoulish sites of so-called ‘dark tourism’. Here, he talks about murky ethics, Kiwi sensibilities and the pressure to react the ‘right’ way. “There’s one point where I’ve got a gun to my head and I laugh, because I’m sort of nervous. “Some people will say to me that it was really inappropriate to laugh at that point … [But] that’s what happened. It’s uncomfortable laughter. We wanted to leave all that in.”

culture September 15, 2018

Zoë Coombs Marr and her stand-in stand-up Dave

Comedian Zoë Coombs Marr created her male alter-ego Dave in order to critique the sexist culture of the stand-up scene, and it has taken years for her to feel ready to take the stage as herself again. “I never made Dave with the intention of being cruel or laughing at people, or going, ‘That guy sucks.’ ”

dance September 1, 2018

Bangarra’s Stephen Page on the language of dance

Stephen Page has known acclaim and accolades as head of Bangarra Dance Theatre. Off stage he’s had more than his fair share of personal tragedy. Here, he talks to about family, his latest show, Dark Emu, and the power of language to change Australia. “Through this symbolism of visual art and story, under that came this kinship idea of connection to land, people and story. That’s why lore and customs exist.”

television August 25, 2018

The many sides of Eddie Izzard

Eddie Izzard burst onto the comedy scene in make-up and heels, later proving his chops as a dramatic actor. On the eve of the release of The Flip Side, set in South Australia, he talks about taking risks, being gender queer and his newest passion – running for British parliament. “I want people, moderate people like me, to get politicised, because it’s going to get rough and we’d better work out how we’re going to make it work. It’s up to us.”

art August 18, 2018

Artist Sun Xun on truth and meaning

The work of Chinese artist Sun Xun explores concepts of time and space, truth and lies – always searching for answers. As the first solo exhibition of his work in Australia opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, he talks about the role of the artist. “We live in a lie, in a big lie system. People should jump out from the lie circle and touch the world. It is the modern world’s problem. Where is the truth? I don’t know. In my art, I want to make people think: ‘Don’t believe our world – it is a big lie.’ I am trying to open the door for people.”

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.”

television April 7, 2018

Director Garth Davis finds religion

His first feature film, Lion, took movie-goers on an emotional journey across the world. Now director Garth Davis lends his visual poetry to the tale of one of history’s most famous women. “If you look into it, Mary Magdalene was a very significant apostle, and was present in all of the key elements, and sometimes mentioned more than other apostles. So she must have been a very significant person, and not the one that we’re learning about in Catholic school growing up. I thought it was amazing that it hadn’t been told.”