September 2017

Matt Grant

Hi Matt! Can you tell me about yourself, where you grew up and the place you call home?

Matt (laughs) ah well, I am from the Northern Beaches, so for anyone that’s curious, that’s where I grew up! I’ve got some pretty alright family up there. Nothing too dangerous. But I pretty much left as soon as I could, I’ve left three times. The third time stayed out and I’m still out, and as of four weeks I’ll be moving states, which is exciting, and getting even further away from that place I call home.

Why do you want to move so far away?

Matt For a lot of reasons. One of the big ones is I want more time to myself and to know less people. I like moving through landscapes that are less intertwined with your social networks because it can change the pace and the rhythm of the way you move through a landscape and I find it really distracting.

Can you talk to me about, just kinda broadly speaking, the Sydney art scene and where or how you situate yourself within it … if you do?

Matt My relationship to, I suppose the Sydney art scene, is one of admiration for forums like Nightlife and the opportunity to express yourself creatively. My frustrations with the Sydney art scene is always about the lack of adequate venues for performance. And so we’re left with only night venues to perform at, and you end up with something between performance art and a cabaret show, which can be really frustrating because you don’t have the audience of an art gallery who are solely there to view you. Instead you’ve got somewhere between people who want to fangirl you ... valorise you but also doing their own thing, so you have to ham it up to hold their attention. Whereas in an art gallery you don’t really have to fight for people’s attention. They give it to you pretty easily.

And so what led you to study at UNSW Art and Design? Why not SCA or NAS?

Matt It was between COFA and NAS but it was even more between doing political science at Sydney Uni and Fine Arts at COFA. And I initially really liked the space and the campus here, but that has changed a lot …

Why and how has it changed?

Matt Frustrations with the use of campus space and the obvious direction universities have been heading into for the past thirty years, which increasingly doesn’t value the student and has replaced the idea of student with customer. For instance, military research on the campus, medical research being put on our campus, studio space being taken away … so it’s like constantly adding sectors that can increase profits while taking away from and deliberately devaluing the student experience on campus. As well as thing’s like pop-up coffee shops that make it hard not to feel like you’re constantly being marketed at … like an over-priced art store on your campus ... It’s hard to feel good about yourself.

Can you talk to me about what performance means for you ... the history of performance and how that influences your practice?

Matt So a lot of people, when they think of performance think of Marina and Ulay, and it’s good to think of Marina and Ulay, but I think it’s more interesting to think of Lady Gaga. Marina and Ulay they’re incredible performance artists, but I mean Marina get’s ragged on a lot, which is pretty common for a woman of colour leading a new field of art. And it annoys me because a lot of my friends refer to her, and a lot of academics are like she’s not a good performer … and it’s like well hold on, who are you? And yes there are problems with some of her works and some of her comments that she’s made, especially the comments about our first nation people even. But you really got to pay her a lot of respect. Then you’ve got people like Lady Gaga, who I think, people don’t or maybe they do consider her as a pop performance artist, but I think that’s hilarious. I think it’s genius to intertwine the two. And as well, it's done in a cheap way. I don’t think of Lady Gaga as some grand artist and like she wasn’t the first one to wear a meat dress, but I like the idea of when Lady Gaga wears a meat dress, the meat dress happens.

In regards to my own performance, I started off as a painter and I suppose performance has been a way to have an actual connection with an audience. I think that connection for me, is the direction of art. It’s about community, live, intensity ... moving symbiotically and creating ideas and moments. That’s how we move forward because when you give someone space to watch your body and project on a live body … like the things that come out are incredible.

You wrote to me that you were interested in Queer performance. Can you talk about that? 

Matt Queer performance is unique for its history in a lot of ways. Sydney has one of the most incredible LGBTQ histories in the world ... and it’s really important to be in touch with the older generations of queer people for their insight, because they have done incredible things and I think a lot of younger queer discount that rich history that we have. Which is fair enough, because it is a hard history to tap into. Queer performance started a long time ago and has alway been this active, political tool to critique and satirise. It’s been taking the piss at the best of times and outright critiquing. And I think our way, as Queer, of dealing with society is through hyperbole and humour. That doesn’t happen in many places … to be willing to satirise, provoke and trigger and be triggered, because we’ve been marginalised, so we can push things right to the edge ... we’ve experienced the edge. You know, we’ve been killed, pushed off cliffs ... everything...yeah.

I find a lot of the time Queer performances in clubs have increasingly lost a level of, for me … political punch, and a willingness to critique. I think we need more of that, we need more people to go out and we need to expand it from the club scene. So as much as it is relevant and necessary,  I think we could take it further …outside the club to the steps of Parliament. Like why do we need to do it underground. I understand underground is our forum where we respond to what is going on in the real world and that’s the way it’s been done for the past fifty years. That’s where the best genres of music have been invented and where so so much rich culture has been encouraged, fostered and invented. But I think we need now to take it outside, but not in the way of the same-sex marriage rally, where you see drag performers walking down the streets. Not in the way of Mardi-Gras where you see increasing corporate funding and the police having their own float, the fire brigade, Macquarie Bank having their own float and paying thousands of dollars to be involved. We need to take it on our level when we’re ready and together but I think directly to the face of the beast. And we need to push as Queers who don’t want heteronormativity, who don’t want marriage, who don’t want increasing consumerism. Queers who care about the planet, you know … we need to expand our definition of Queer, let more people in … and look towards combining with groups like activist. Because I have been seeing a lot of interesting activism come out of  … sort of Queer aesthetics. And what happens when we combine and intersect … sort of Leftist activism and underground Queer. Like there’s a whole space for that.

How do you approach your own practice?

Matt I push for characters … snippets … I enjoy taking on people’s worlds for a day. So trying to imagine myself in the shoes of someone … like a forty-five year old female accountant … and seeing what that is… and how that changes the way I move through a space. Because I think it can bring me personally, a lot of empathy and I try to remember to not seperate myself from the world too much. It encourages me to walk with a mindset that’s different to my own. Yeah and of course a lot of humour comes out of that, because you’re not a forty-five year old female accountant … (laughs) … which is great.

The texture and fragility of the fabric in your Parachute installation is really interesting, what drew you towards using that material?

Matt I’ve used the parachute about seven times now … I think like, sometimes things are just gorgeous and the more you do with it, the more you realise can be done with it, and I guess I have reservations about using something more than once, but then you think, if my chair can be a chair but I can also in my mind turn it into a bus, a car or a hat … why do I not take it in every direction? I don’t need to feel embarrassed about it. And it’s such a beautiful material … I’ve hacked it up, turning it into dresses for plays, capes for Thorsten’s piece and I’m about to use three more parachutes I think tomorrow … for Soft Centre.

Can you talk me through your interest in text as an artistic practice?

Matt I think like it’s a bit flesh and blood … like if performing is my flesh than writing would be the blood that flows through it. It’s the substance that it’s infused with. It’s where it all comes from … I ground myself a lot in my writing and it’s my space to think, prod and question … because like … I don’t know what you’d make art about if you weren’t writing and thinking constantly. I’ve never been a huge fan of intuitive art. I think it’s beautiful but I personally prefer art as a political device and I think that’s where it should and is most necessary. So my writing has always been a means to understand things like my Queer lineage, where I come from … also processing trauma, which we all need to do …

Can you talk about themes and concepts that you explore in Writing As Practice, 2017?

Matt When you come out as Queer you don’t have your history handed to you … you know, your parents don’t go Ok your Queer … here’s this package which says where you came from … so at nineteen I definitely went out of my way to research, and I was realising I didn’t know anything … like I didn’t know about the 201 or something men who were pushed off cliffs around the Bondi area, I didn’t know that my mum had worked in the Hospital during the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Darlinghurst … so for me it was a way of situating myself in history and realising that people had worked for this, because you do get down and out … you do get down and out watching the plebiscite and thinking my rights are being debated right now, but when you just realise and have some gratitude that people have worked so hard for you to be able to hold hands with your partner in public … that was a big part of it for me, it was trying to find a history that I felt comfortable with because that generation, specifically that generation of men who died in the AIDS epidemic, who were grossly mistreated around the world … Australia had quite a good response to it … still the cultural stigma around it was horrifying … but those men aren’t there to pass on their stories … you know … so there’s an absence. And we miss that, and I think we miss them, we don’t get their stories, we don’t know what it was like … so in a way we have a few relics of people to tell us what it was, but the creatives … it's like a generation of our fathers have all gone missing and you can’t be in touch with them, so that’s what that writing was about .. it was trying to understand and sympathise them, but also relate to the level of oppression they were experiencing and sort of situate it in my realms … feeling both grateful but also like I wanted to do more and protest more.

What did it mean to “curate” those texts ?

Matt Yeah, so this piece was docu-poetry, which is all taken from documents and turned into poetry. So like nothing was my own words it was just the way I placed it, like a puzzle … and I think it’s interesting just to see how you can re-work things to find your own meaning … that was the best part of that process … and trying to place myself in the text, to establish some kind of emotional connection to something that was so far away that isn’t told in history … it really isn’t and so much of my generation doesn’t have an awareness of it. That’s why I wanted to move myself through the texts in such a way so I could deconstruct them to let myself in, to find comfort in that for a second and try to work at it through that angle.

Some of my performances can be rushed so it’s hard to find a softness … so with the performing element of my practice it’s really based on tangible connections, being in the same room, being present, that tension that Brecht writes about that Samuel Beckett fucken held in the palm on his hand at one point (laughs) … but with writing there’s a beautiful distance from the reader, in the fact that you leave it on the paper for them, and leave them that space. I wanted this to be a personal work, but I wanted it to be a personal work that I could share later and that could be read for other people … I guess that’s the dichotomy of what I do. Either I’m not there at all or I’m presently trying to manipulate the tension between two people.

Do you think artist can make social change? And how effective do you think it can be?

Matt Well, in my eyes not very well. If we look at what’s been happening in recent years, I think that there are certain people who move through the world and their lifestyle is art, and they’re political, in their identity. They don’t necessarily speak the political rhetoric but they’re just political people because they move through space passionately disregarding every structure … and that for me is art more so than … like a sculpture that someone had told me what think… like I don’t agree with the “artist statement” … I don’t need to be told what to think of a work. If I don’t feel something from it, what’s happening? It’s not political if you don’t feel something and you have to pick up a piece of paper and read it. But then you know, there’s something on at Firstdraft by two people who I can’t remember … but it’s like a political work and it uses text in it as well in a way that’s not just telling you what to think. It gives meaning to the work, and I think we need more of that and less of telling people what your work is about … I think that’s bullshit.

Can you talk about the themes of SYZYGY poem? 

Matt (laughs) for the record I’m putting steroid cream on my eyebrows …

Well you know … as little philosophs at art school, we want to deal with those kind of concepts, specifically when we first get here, and I was definitely reaching for something … this was also contextually at a time when I respected Freud and thought he was a cool guy … that’s probably why I was interested in themes like “time and space” (laughs) … but that whole Zine is something that I go through a lot, which is being scared that I’m just an aestheticist … a fear that I just like pretty things and that I’m good at putting together pretty things. I’ve painted and it’s been “successful”, I’ve sculpted and I work in the prop industry and I do some alright stuff that looks pretty nice … but is there any meaning to it? Is there any difference between the thing I set up for Macquarie Bank and the sculpture I submitted for SPI? I could probably talk about the sculpture that I set up for Macquarie Bank in the same way I talk about the SPI work … so where is the distinguishing line? … and when you know that there is no substance and maybe there is no meaning to your work, maybe you just like pretty things, maybe you like the colours orange and red  next to each other and that’s what your art is about. There’s a Mikala Dwyer exhibition on at the moment at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, that I think is completely aesthetics based and has no real substance, which is great and I love seeing that in the gallery … Mikala Dwyer has also given an artists statement and it’s like, there is absolutely no concept behind your works … like absolutely fucken none ….

Just intellectualising colours ….

Matt Yeah and I’m like I don’t know what you could possibly tell me this is about … like I know it’s about nothing … we’re not silly Mikala … and so I want to be a part of removing the pressure from artists to feel like they need to spell out a concept for their work, because as we said earlier, can something not just be about politics? Can something not just be about aesthetics? There is nothing wrong with a beautiful painting you know. The Banks own millions in their hallways and they don’t … actually sometimes they do actually have artists statements, which are hilarious …

In the Banks?

Matt In the Banks, yes … I install a lot of works in some hiiiigh end buildings in the city and they own a lot of artists like Emily Kame Kngwarreye … and they just have it sitting in their hallway … and I always always touch the painting … because you’re not allowed to do that in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, but I dam well intend to touch the painting if it’s in the Bank.

What are you interested in researching now?

Matt Firstly a brief shoutout to Astrid Lorange, for doing such good things and inspiring me so much … Just Astrid … full stop … (laughs). I suppose this is my second big work after the one on HIV/AIDS, where this academic side of me that is very rigorous and dedicated and gets really into some thick and juicy papers and content, it has provided a foundational bed for me to make art. With the last one on HIV/AIDS I ended up making a work about Margaret Court, where I just stood in a box and served tennis balls at the wall and they just came back and hit me while dressed as Margaret Court … I recommend seeing that one … but you can’t because I didn’t document it.

So for me the post-pornographic framework, for me is my favourite thing, it started with some research on the way that Grindr intersects with political borders and state policy, and watching the overlay of an app, which is encoded with sexual politic, interact with the moral and spatial geography of regions … so watching how interface between Israeli and Arab occupants in the Middle East used a dating app to process and decipher the politics of their region, and further how it's used in Chechnya as an alert system, and how an app for people who have a sexuality that is often considered deviant, a hook up app, which sexualise spaces and turns everything into a virtual gay beat, can be turned into an alarm system that alerts people to flee their geographic location. So how does something that sexualises the landscape and turns everything into a proximity based virtual beat, then turn into an evacuative sort of refugee base almost … a tool that gets people to move? But at the same time, looking at how police in Egypt have used the app to create fake accounts and track down homosexuals … and Grindr’s leaking of the location of individuals in Jordan to out them to the Jordanian government … so again you’ve got it being used as an alert system in Chechnya, which sounds progressive on Grindr’s behalf and then you go to Jordan and you see Grindr leaking the information to the Jordanian government where homosexuality is punishable by death … there is a radical shift in the politics of an app … you saw it recently with Tesla’s hurricane car fiasco, if anyone has been following that, where they unlocked the car’s so they could drive away and escape the hurricane, but a company ended up with the ability to choose how far their cars drove … and when a natural weather phenomenon comes and interacts with that … what happens? What are the ethics of these corporations and what are their politics? How does that technological base, that is this sort of thin film over everything now, interact with both geographic and political landscapes … and that’s a really cool topic.

Can you explain your research of the Abu Ghraib photographs?

Matt I think Abu Ghraib is this really really terrifying thing, for me at least … I find it horrific. It’s inexcusable and yet it’s been excused.  I was interested in what happens when we revisit something that’s like come out and then swept under the rug … once we've had that space … we’ve had twelve to thirteen years … how can we see, turn around and re-interact with it to change the way we think about the future.

So I’m interested in the way Abu Ghraib depicts US occupation of countries that’s been happening since World War Two. And that for me is a really big frustration, because when you realise that there is a Super-State … this neo-imperial/colonial project happening … I mean you’re taught that it ended … the war ended, the United Nations happened, there are now these things called “human rights” … and then you see Abu Ghraib. And when you realise we’re living in a 9/11 landscape it’s the next cold war and it’s happening around us … how often do we hear about ISIS and ISIL in the media? We’re living in a propagandised media that is constantly feeding and manipulating us, to gear us and mobilise us as state citizens. And that’s it … the para-militarisation of the civilian body and how we all become weaponized to kind of continue the war on terror, which is mainly just about sustaining the US economy. There are several quotes that give blood to that idea … like around 1998 when head of the military in the US said to Bill Clinton, we need  a war, I’m training all these men and they have no one to kill …

You describe the Abu Ghraib photos as “pornofied”, specifically what did you mean when you said, “Therefore spectacle becomes camouflage, and porn usurped questions of race and imperialism”?

Matt One of the photos is of this woman named Lynndie England and she’s holding a leash and on the other end is an Iraqi male detainee who’s on all fours, in the position of a dog … and it’s obviously an image of torture … what was mobilised in the discussion about it though, was that it was representative of BDSM, and it turned into an attack on deviant sexualities on American soil rather than questions around the occupation of Iraq … so it was like Lynndie England, who in the aftermath was labeled trailer trash because she was from a working class family, which is again an example of the manipulative power of the media … so Lynndie England became the deviant of the state, she become representative of the anti-Madonna … all of a sudden she became the centre of the images, not the detainee on the ground. And she was slammed for it, horrifically … but the state was ignored. It was the personality of Lynndie England and nothing else was spoken about. What I meant by ‘spectacle becomes camouflage’ is that the spectacle of Lynndie England standing in that photo holding a detainee on a leash, that is so overwhelming graphic can be camouflage for the Arab body that’s at the end of that leash and the torture itself.

One of the interesting things was the idea of a super-carceral state ... a shadow landscape, which just holds thousands of detainees like Guantanamo Bay. Guantanamo Bay is an example of one. Guantanamo Bay sort of represents and gives flesh and blood to the whole neo-imperial project. Honestly I thought, before I did this project, that Guantanamo Bay is full of monsters, that’s what I’ve been told, that’s what the movies are about, I haven’t had other interactions with the topic other than a vague film discussions of it. But when you find out that ninety five per cent of the men in Guantanamo Bay are innocent men who have been picked up and sold to the US in civilian raids, ninety five per cent of them have no useful knowledge of terrorist action ... you understand that Guantanamo Bay is symbolic and not literal. It’s symbolic, in the sense that, there are these terrorist out there that need to be detained at all means necessary. These men, even though they’ve done nothing, are tortured twenty four hours a day. One of the torture tactics is putting them in gloves, goggles, ear muffs and a face mask, and leaving them outside in sensory deprivation for extended periods of time, and then they drag them back to their cell … just depriving them of all their senses … and these men have done nothing. They project onto these men the idea that they’re at war. These innocent civilians who have had nothing to do with anything end up being the reason they’re at war… how that projection comes to validate the war is just one of the things that came up for me during that project.

Can you talk me through your reading of the significance of the body?

Matt This point was made clear recently … when the photos first came out, they were read as homo-pornographic … photos of men sucking each other off, sodomising each other etc, but what it was, was this process of feminisation.

They were trying to subvert the Arab men to the status of a woman. And there are some quotes from some Arab detainees who testify to this and say it’s the most humiliating thing. So there definitely is at times a level of shared misogyny but what the process of feminisation revealed was more about the US military, because they knew how to subvert them to women, they wanted to and they actively engaged in it … that was comfortable for them. They didn’t have to figure it out … it was like we know how to attack you and break you and subvert you to that status of a woman … because that exists in our culture as well, that is the language of the military, we either break you or we keep you. Women in that military culture are forced to assume an asexual status, you know, they are assumed or forced to take levels of androgyneity … these are the measures they have to take to fit in with their comrades because there is no place for femininity in the US war machine. I think the way that torture was articulated was through the very same fraternity type structures that exist in military culture, like rituals of military hazing where you harass each other and where you are constantly trying to feminise each other, because it’s the ultimate achilles heel almost in their eyes!

The actual tactics are hilarious and absurd … which is where the fraternity argument does come into it … things like putting underwear on their head, sodomising, stacking them in human pyramids while naked … just this repetitive use of female underwear being worn at all times. The garb they were given was specifically female … so they could either wear feminine clothing or no clothing at all. Which is obviously a human rights issue, based on their freedom to religion but the other thing was smearing them with menstrual blood. It’s also interesting that there are no photos of women in the Abu Ghraib … there is one of the two hundred that came out and it was of a prostitute … probably circumstantially, because women and children can’t exist in those photos either, it’s a space only for humiliated men … and there are a lot more photos still being debated in congress right now, whether or not to release them, which undoubtedly depict more graphic scenes.

The US military policy is don’t ask, don’t tell for homosexual and trans members of the military. Obviously their policy towards transgender bodies is under a lot of criticism right now, as it should be. But how it affects me … is in the same way that things like the plebiscite do … it’s a political moment … and people feel openly able to criticise it and that criticism is a part of you and always has to be taken on board because you relate to that on some level. And when you watch someone .. also there’s just the question of when you watch two people being forced to sodomise each other as a form of torture, you wonder what people think of you and how that lands with them, because people do still see Queer  …. you watch that in the language of people coming "out", just stay "in" ... people are so often embraced by their children coming out ... yeah.

What do you think of how the term ‘Queer’ is used in the art world? 

Matt I think it’s great that people have a lot of different definitions of it, and I think it’s important for people to keep those definitions inclusive. But for me Queer is just a rejection of being labeled. So when you ask me what I am … I say … why are you asking? Instead of this is what I am. Why do you possibly need to know? And what gives you the right to ask? Because I don’t ask them (heterosexual), and I’m not interested. It’s fair enough, people are just curious, it’s the language of the cinema and TV we grew up with … us as LGBTQI folk had to ‘out’ ourselves … and so before you ‘out’ yourself there has to be a question. And that question is ‘Are You?’ and the ‘outing’ is the answer to that … and so people still feel safe to ask those questions … and the answer is like I don’t know what I am … I’ve slept with all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds, all sorts of different bodies … I’m constantly surprised by my sexuality and the directions it takes me in. I don't know why I’d possibly identify as anything because it would just stop me from doing something … I want to see everything as sexual and non-sexual … you know … there’s a million different ways to have sex and that’s incredible … one can just be holding hands and you can be holding hands with a million different people in a million different ways and so why close yourself off to that. But importantly, I want Queer to be a more inclusive term, with in mind that some of us experience Queer our whole lives, but I’d like more people to comfortably come into the term and align with it like, Heterosexual-Queerdom  … it’s a thing … you can be Queer and be attracted to the opposite sex that you were “meant” to be attracted to … I think it’s about having nuanced and flexibility and not performing in the exact way that we’re told to perform … and that’s Queer and I want more of my straight friends to be comfortable with it but also considerate of the fact that some of us have had to deal with it since we were really young and have a lot more trauma … but I think we can include more people we need to just be aware of the different ways it affects people.

Another topical word ... how about ‘Feminist’? 

Matt You can make art about anything. If you want to make art about something like feminism I’d make it about my experience of feminism. And I did once make a work which people might think of as feminist, but it was me creating a giant vagina … and it wasn’t to sexualise or anything … I just had never seen one really, so I was curious like how, through what I’d seen in books and films, what was the closest I could get it to look like … and I made it in an open space where people would walk by and were giving me feedback … I wasn’t trying to be feminist or to critique, or steal a symbol of femininity, I was interested as a Queer person with no experience in that realm ... how the curiosity would come out and interact with the public. I think it can be taken up by anybody but I also think if I’m having a conversation with you on feminism, I actually have to kind of shut up when you go to speak about something because you’ve experienced it, so yes we can still be feminist, but I need to be aware of my role in it. Just because we both call ourselves feminist doesn’t mean that we have equal pull in this conversation. You should have the talking space.

And you know like, it wasn’t the job of LGBTQI people to be at the same-sex rally, it’s all of the hetero people who can already get married. You should front up and be like hey I want to support this part of society, this minority. I’m not going to make that minority who has experienced severe trauma from being outcast constantly, who still haven't had an apology by the government for the numerous atrocities committed … I’m not going to make them walk through the street and be like “Can I have my rights yet? … I really need my rights!” Your job is to step out and be like here is an outcast member of society, we’re going to do the walking for them, because they have been walking … running for the past hundred years .. and maybe we just walk for them on this day. People don’t see it in that way, and I think feminism should be seen in the same way. More of us need to step out in support of feminism, as like pillars of it, but we don’t need to be the voice of it. Get behind the scenes … do the admin, let me do the admin, you do the speaking.

And then we have an intersect and we are there supporting each other and that’s how we push each other up I guess.

Ok last question, what are the projects you are working on for the future?

Matt Ok, the last thing I will say on the last topic, because I think it’s important … be careful of your opinion … so many people have come up to me during this plebiscite time being like, it’s so wrong … I’m so sorry you have to deal with it. But I just don’t want to hear your opinion right now, I don’t need it … I don’t need another opinion … so just be careful where you put your voice and question every time you speak on a minorities topic … do you need to contribute? Or can you just listen and be there?

... So the projects that I’m working on is moving states … that is a big old project! And I’m dating someone, which again is just absolute art. The fact that I’ve been doing it for for four months I find crazy. It’s sounds ridiculous but that is actually something I’m trying to work on, to be able to exist with someone and share a space. Everything becomes a part of who you are and the art you make, and I’m into that. I’m thinking of getting into some more protest … So there’s a work that hopefully I’m making with my friend Liz in Melbourne, Dr Liz Connor, probably not listening … but she wants to do a work called the Collettes, where we perform in routine, bit of choreography for the international mining gala and sell coal on cigarette trays. A bit skanky and sort of protest in that way, because she recognises importantly that the photo you get of a protester interacting with the cause is what gets media attention and I’m really interested in how art can intersect with theatre and politics more and protest. Let's make art that is actual protest. Graffiti did it, they just started painting on trains, like paint your Pollock on a fucken Bank window and see how it goes, like stop painting on canvas, stop sculpting in a studio, stop performing in the gallery … let’s take it out doors and lets get people to interact with it, because I don’t know why we are keeping it inside this tiny vacuum and we’re not letting it be political. We are the obstacle … and we’re just walking around chatting about it, which is cool, I love you all (laughs) and I love our chat. But why don't we take it further … let’s see what it looks like when you actually just do a piece on Parliament steps … doesn't need to be that good.

Is the personal political?

... is the personal political? Of course … every aspect of your life is political … everything you do, every street you walk down, from the way in which you walk, what you’re wearing, who you identify as, who you are and what you see and the way you see things, every aspect of a single street walk is political. But find a softness in that. There's an intellectual level, but there’s also a level of love which you have to let run under that and find an energetic joy to the whole experience. Consciously yes, everything is political. But energetically and emotionally I think there is a softer place to operate when the personal and the political is getting you down, which it often does.

︎Eora Nation