Shanghai native 33EMYBW (Wu Shanmin) has been an active member in the Chinese music scene for over a decade. She has also performed at CTM and Sinotronics in Germany, China Drifting Festival in Switzerland, and SXSW. Her 2018 album Golem, released on SVBKVLT, was met with critical acclaim and voted one of the best electronic albums of 2018 by Bandcamp. In 2019 she released DONG2 EP under Merrie Records Beijing, and will premiere her sophomore album Arthropods (SVBKVLT) at Unsound 2019.
Aasma Tulika is an artist based in Delhi. Her practice locates technological infrastructures as sites to unpack how power embeds, affects, and moves narrative making processes. Her work engages with moments that disturb belief systems through assemblages of video, zines, interactive text, writings and sound. Aasma was a fellow at the Home Workspace Program 2019-20, Ashkal Alwan, her work has appeared in Restricted Fixations, Abr_circle, Khoj Art+Science program, HH Art Space. She is a member of the collective -out-of-line-, and collaboratively maintains a home server hosting an internet radio station. She is currently teaching at Ambedkar University Delhi.
A Hanley is an artist currently living on Wurundjeri Country in Melbourne, Australia. Their practice uses sound and media to explore relations among queer ecologies, attunement, situatedness, and speculative practices. Engaging forms of performance, installation, and collaboration, Hanley's work is interested in audition as an affective practice and the possibilities of sound and technology to support and alter the sonic expressions of humans and non-humans.
Aisyah Aaqil Sumito is an artist and writer living near Derbarl Yerrigan on Whadjuk Noongar Bibbulmun lands. Their work reflects mostly on personal intersections of disability, queerness and diasporic ancestry in so-called 'australia'. They have recently made text-based contributions to Runway Journal and HERE&NOW20: Perfectly Queer, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery.
Alessandro Bosetti is an Italian composer, performer and sound artist, currently based in Marseille. His work delves into the musicality of spoken language, utilising misunderstandings, translations and interviews as compositional tools. His works for voice and electronics blur the line between electro-acoustic composition, aural writing and performance.
Alexander Garsden is a Melbourne-based composer, guitarist and electroacoustic musician, working across multiple exploratory musical disciplines. Recent work includes commissions from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Speak Percussion, Michael Kieran Harvey and Eugene Ughetti; alongside performances with artists including Tetuzi Akiyama (Japan), Oren Ambarchi, Radu Malfatti (Austria), Julia Reidy, David Stackenäs (Sweden), and with Erkki Veltheim and Rohan Drape. From 2014 to 2019 Garsden was Co-Director of the INLAND Concert Series. He has taught through RMIT University and the University of Melbourne.
Alexander Powers is a choreographer, performer and DJ from Naarm. In 2019 they premiered their first full length choreographic work Time Loop at the Melbourne Fringe Festival, receiving the Temperance Hall Award at the Fringe Awards. Under the moniker Female Wizard, they are known internationally for their forward-thinking DJ sets. They’ve performed at Golden Plains, Dark Mofo, Boiler Room, Hybrid Festival and Soft Centre and held a four year residency at Le Fag.
Alexandra Spence is a sound artist and musician living on unceded Wangal land in Sydney, Australia. Through her practice Alex attempts to reimagine the intricate relationships between the listener, the object, and the surrounding environment as a kind of communion or conversation. Her aesthetic favours field recordings, analogue technologies and object interventions. Alex has presented her art and music in Australia, Asia, Europe, and North America including BBC Radio; Ausland, Berlin; Café Oto, London; EMS, Stockholm; Punkt Festival, Kristiansand; Standards Studio, Milan; AB Salon, Brussels; Radiophrenia, Glasgow; Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid; Sound Forms Festival, Hong Kong; MONO, Brisbane; The Substation, Melbourne; Soft Centre, and Liveworks Festival, Sydney.
Allanah Stewart is an artist from Aotearoa/New Zealand, currently living in Melbourne, Australia. As well as her work in various experimental music projects, she is the presenter of a monthly podcast radio programme called Enquiring Minds, hosted by Noods radio, which explores old and new, lesser known and well known sounds that loosely fit under the banner of experimental music.
Allison Gibbs is an artist living and working on Djaara Country/Maldon, Victoria. She is currently a PhD candidate at Monash University Art, Design and Architecture (MADA).
Mouth Making an Orifice has been adapted for OOO/LA from a part of Allison’s doctoral research (Orificing as Method).
Amanda Stewart is a poet, author, and vocal artist. She has created a diverse range of publications, performances, film and radio productions in Australia, Europe, Japan, and the USA, working in literature, new music, broadcasting, theatre, dance, and new media environments. Amanda collaborated with Chris Mann for many years in the Australian ensemble, Machine For Making Sense (with Jim Denley, Rik Rue, and Stevie Wishart), as well as in other contexts. Her poem ‘ta’ was written in honour of Chris Mann’s extraordinary vision and work.
Anabelle Lacroix is a French-Australian curator, writer and radio contributor. Working independently in Paris, she is based at Fondation Fiminco for a year-long residency focused on the politics of sleeplessness (2020). She has a broad practice, and a current interest in experimental practice, working with performance, sound, discourse and publishing. She is a PhD candidate at UNSW Art & Design.
Ander Rennick is a graphic artist based in Melbourne interested in the fetishisation of editorial, pedagogical, pornographic and mimetic commodities.
Andrew Brooks is an artist, writer, and teacher who lives on unceded Wangal land. He is a lecturer in media cultures at UNSW, one half of the critical art collective Snack Syndicate, and a member of the Rosa Press Collective. Homework, a book of essays co-written with Astrid Lorange, was recently published by Discipline.
Andrew Fedorovitch is compos mentis. Andrew Fedorovitch embodies professionalism in every aspect of his life, including music.
André Dao is a writer, editor, researcher, and artist. His debut novel, Anam, won the 2021 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. He is also the co-founder of Behind the Wire, an oral history project documenting people’s experience of immigration detention and a producer of the Walkley-award winning podcast, The Messenger. He is a member of the Manus Recording Project Collective.
Angela Goh is a dancer and choreographer. Her work poses possibilities for disruption and transformation inside the aesthetics and conditions of technocapitalism, planetarity, and the post-anthropocene. She lives and works in Sydney, and has toured her work across Australia, Europe, the UK, the USA and Asia. She received the 2020 Keir Choreographic Award and the inaugural Sydney Dance Company Beyond the Studio Fellowship 2020-21.
Anna Annicchiarico has a bachelor's degree in Hindi language and literature and she specialised in anthropology at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. For her studies, she focused on the effects of orientalism in post-colonial imageries, especially on migrants in Italy, analysing religious places, and their meaning for different generations. In recent years, she has been increasingly involved in contemporary art and performance.
Anna Liebzeit composes for collaborations across installation, theatre, and film. Recent compositions include the feature film The Survival of Kindness (Rolf de Heer 2022), Sleeplessness Carriageworks (Karen Therese 2022), The Darkness of Enlightenment Samstag Museum of Art (James Tylor 2021), kipli pawuta lumi MONA FOMA (2020), and SHIT and LOVE by Dee and Cornelius (45 Downstairs, Venice Biennale 2019, and feature film SHIT 2021). Anna has made music for various NAIDOC events and has had work shown at various venues nationally.
Her solo practice investigates erasure and becoming inscribed, as a personal and broader (Australian) cultural phenomenon. Her research is linked to the lived experience of Stolen Generations and relationality by drawing on Susan Dion’s educative provocation to complicate empathy when engaging with First Nations peoples. Anna has been an educator in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and education for over twenty years and is an award-winning curriculum writer. In 2021 she received the Creative Victoria Creators Fund grant to research the intersections of her teaching and creative methodologies.
Anne Zeitz is associate professor at University Rennes 2. Her research focuses on aural attention, the inaudible, the unheard, and the polyphony in contemporary art. She directed the research project 'Sound Unheard' and she co-organised the eponymous exhibition at the Goethe-Institut Paris, Paris and exhibition 'Échos magnétiques” at the MBA Rennes, Rennes in 2019.
Annika Kristensen is Senior Curator at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne.
Arben Dzika is an artist whose practice involves working with various media including, but not limited to: sound, image, word, and performance. His work primarily seeks to reflect on, interrogate, and play with technologies, systems, and human senses. Within his practice, he works as a producer and DJ under the moniker, Dilae.
Archie Barry is an interdisciplinary visual artist working with a trans politics of quietude. Their practice is autobiographical, somatic, and process-led, and spans performance, video, music production, and writing. Cultivating a genealogy of personas, they produce self-portraiture that brings to question dominant notions of personhood and representation.
Arlie Alizzi is a Yugambeh writer living between Yawuru Country (Broome) and Wurundjeri Country (Melbourne). He is an editor, writer and researcher. He was an editor for Un Magazine with Neika Lehman in 2018, and co-edited a special issue of Archer Magazine in 2020. He was a writer-in-residence for MPavilion in 2019, and is interested in articulations of place in writing about urban areas.
Audrey Schmidt is a writer and editor based in Melbourne, Australia. She is a regular contributor to Memo Review, co-editor the third issue of Dissect Journal, and has written for various publications including Art Monthly, Art + Australia and un Magazine. She co-founded Minority Report with Adam Hammad in 2018 and released one online issue that was available until the domain expired in 2019. Audrey sits on the FYTA (GR) Board of Advisors.
Austin Benjamin, known for his stage name Utility, is a Sydney-based music producer, artist & founder of the label Trackwork. He’s released projects through Room 40, Sumac, HellosQuare, and produced music for releases on labels including Universal NZ, AVTV, Warner & 66 Records. In 2019 Utility & close collaborator T. Morimoto released Nexus Destiny featuring a collection of 60 arpeggios made entirely with software synthesisers, released on Melbourne-based label Sumac.
Earlier this year Utility performed alongside T Breezy, Walkerboy, Sevy & Bayang at Sydney Opera House’s Barrbuwari event. Austin has previously composed and performed new works for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, and University of Queensland Art Museum with T. Morimoto, and MONA FOMA Tasmania with turntablist Martin Ng and has exhibited audio-visual gallery works including ‘Strategic Innovation’ with Coen Young at Kronenberg Wright, Sydney.
Autumn Royal is a poet, researcher, and educator based in Narrm/Melbourne. Autumn’s current research examines elegiac expression in contemporary poetry. Autumn is the interviews editor for Cordite Poetry Review, and author of the poetry collections She Woke & Rose (Cordite Books, 2016) and Liquidation (Incendium Radical Library, 2019).
Beau Lai (formerly Lilly) is an artist and writer currently based in Paris, France. Beau spent their formative years working intensively within the contemporary arts industry on Darug and Gadigal land in so-called 'Australia'. They are most well known for self-publishing their essay and work of institutional critique, 'Working at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. It does not exist in a vacuum', in 2020.
Behrouz Boochani is a Kurdish-Iranian writer, journalist, scholar, cultural advocate and filmmaker. He was writer for the Kurdish language magazine Werya. He writes regularly for The Guardian and several other publications. Boochani is also co-director (with Arash Kamali Sarvestani) of the 2017 feature-length film Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time, and author of No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison. He was held on Manus Island from 2013 until 2019.
Ben Raynor is an artist, living in Melbourne.
Bianca Winataputri is a Melbourne-based independent curator and writer researching contemporary practice in Southeast Asia, and relationships between individuals and collectives in relation to history, globalisation, identity and community building. Currently working at Regional Arts Victoria, Bianca was previously Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the NGA. She holds a BA (University of Melbourne), and BA Honours from the ANU where she received the Janet Wilkie Prize for Art. In 2018 Bianca was selected for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art’s Curators’ Intensive.
Brandon LaBelle is an artist, writer and theorist working with sound culture, voice, and questions of agency. Guided by situated and collaborative methodologies, he develops and presents artistic projects and performances within a range of international contexts, mostly working in public and with others. This leads to performative installations, poetic theater, storytelling, and research actions aimed at forms of experimental community making, as well as extra-institutional initiatives, including The Listening Biennial and Academy (2021-ongoing). From gestures of intimacy and listening to critical festivity and experimental pedagogy, his practice aligns itself with a politics and poetics of radical hospitality.
Brian Hioe was one of the founding editors of New Bloom, an online magazine covering activism and youth politics in Taiwan and the Asia Pacific, founded in 2014 in the wake of the Sunflower Movement. Hioe is a freelance writer on social movements and politics, as well as an occasional translator.
Bridget Chappell is a raver and theory bro currently living on the unceded nations of the Latji Latji and Nyeri Nyeri people. They make music as Hextape and organise parties in drains, observatories, and other natural amphitheatres. They founded and run Sound School, work with young musicians behind bars, and make experimental sound technologies to challenge police sirens.
Bryan Phillips A.K.A. Galambo is a Chilean/Australian artist working in community arts, music and performance, using sound as a means to facilitate engagement with others. His practice has mainly been developed in Chile, but after completing his Masters in Community Cultural Development (VCA-2013) he has become involved in projects with artists from Timor-Leste, Indonesia and Australia.
Camila Marambio is a private investigator, amateur dancer, permaculture enthusiast, and sporadic writer, but first and foremost, she is a curator and the founder/director of Ensayos, a nomadic interdisciplinary research program in Tierra del Fuego.
Candice Hopkins is a curator, writer and researcher interested in history, art and indigeneity, and their intersections. Originally from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Hopkins is a citizen of Carcross/Tagish First Nation. She was senior curator for the 2019 Toronto Biennial of Art, and worked on the curatorial teams for the Canadian Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale, and documenta 14.
Casey (Nicholls-Bull) Jones is the assistant editor for Liquid Architecture's Disclaimer.
She is also an artist who utilises embodied knowledge, plant and herbal study, research, and deep listening as the backbones of her practice. Through unhurried and repetitive processes such as pyrographic wood burning techniques, oil painting, and the observation of and connection to natural cycles and materials, Jones uses these methods to rearrange, layer, peel back, and continually connect to knowledges, memories and histories that are personally felt, encountered, and observed around her. Jones uses the moon cycle as a continual framework to maintain the rhythm and logic of her practise, and is continually in the midst of deconstructing the complexity of working as a settler on unceded Wurundjeri land through her processes of both making and understanding. Her hope is that through circling, living through, and re-curringly interrogating these things she studies and tends to, something fruitful may gradually become embodied, communicated and understood in new ways by herself and those who encounter her work.
Sound Mastering: Casey Rice is an audio doula living and practicing on Djaara Country/Castlemaine, Victoria.
Catherine Ryan is an artist who works with performance, sound, text, video and installation. She often uses humour and references to philosophical and pop figures to interrogate the neoliberal disciplining the body. She has exhibited at galleries and festivals in Australia and Europe, including Gertrude Contemporary, MUMA (Melbourne), the Royal College of Art (London), the Vienna Biennale and the Melbourne Art Fair. She is currently a PhD candidate at RMIT University, researching how ideas from experimental composition, cybernetics and performance can help us wrestle with the existential threat of extinction that climate change and other catastrophes pose to life on our planet.
Cecilia Vicuña's work dwells in the not yet, the future potential of the unformed, where sound, weaving, and language interact to create new meanings.
'In January 1966, I began creating precarios (precarious) installations and basuritas, objects composed of debris, structures that disappear, along with quipus and other weaving metaphors. I called these works 'Arte Precario', creating a new independent category, a non-colonized name for them. The precarios soon evolved into collective rituals and oral performances based on dissonant sound and the shamanic voice. The fluid, multi-dimensional quality of these works allowed them to exist in many media and languages at once. Created in and for the moment, they reflect ancient spiritual technologies—a knowledge of the power of individual and communal intention to heal us and the earth.'
Chi Tran is a writer, editor, and an artist who makes poems that may be text, video, object, sound, or drawing. Chi is primarily interested in working with language as a means of coming-to-terms. Their work has been published by Incendium Radical Library Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Australian Poetry and Liminal Magazine and exhibited at galleries including Firstdraft, Sydney; Punk Café, Melbourne; and ACCA, Melbourne. In 2019, as a recipient of The Ian Potter Cultural Trust Fund, Chi spent three months in New York developing their practice with renowned poets including Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Fred Moten, and Jackie Wang.
Christopher L G Hill is an artist, poet, anarchist, collaborator, facilitator, lover, friend, DJ, performer, sound pervader, publisher of Endless Lonely Planet, co-label boss; Bunyip trax, traveller, homebody, dancer, considerate participator, dishwasher, writer, bencher, eater, exhibitor: Sydney, Physics Room, Westspace, TCB, BUS, Punk Cafe,100 Grand street, Lismore Regional Gallery, Good Press, Gambia Castle, Conical, GCAS, NGV, VCA, Mission Comics, Slopes, Art Beat, Papakura Gallery, Neon Parc, UQ Gallery, Tate Modern, Connors Connors, Glasgow International, Sandy Brown, OFLUXO, New Scenarios, Margaret Lawrence, Flake, Utopian Slumps, World Food Books, Sutton, Rearview, Joint Hassles, a basement, a tree, Innen publications, SAM, Chateau 2F, etc, and tweeter, twitcher, sleeper, Biennale director (‘Melbourne Artist initiated’ 2008, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2018-20), DJ, retired gallerist Y3K, conversationalist who represents them self and others, born Melbourne/Narrm 1980c.e, lives World.
Chun Yin Rainbow Chan is a Hong Kong–Australian artist, living in Sydney. Working across music, performance and installation, Rainbow is interested in the copy and how the ways in which it can disrupt Western notions of ownership. Central to Rainbow's work is the circulation of knock-off objects, sounds and images in global media. Her work positions the counterfeit as a complex sign that shapes new myths, values and contemporary commodity production.
Claire G Coleman is a Noongar writer, born in Western Australia, and now based in Naarm. Her family have been from the area around Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun on the south coast of WA since before time started being recorded. Claire wrote her black&write! Fellowship-winning book Terra Nullius while travelling around Australia in a caravan. The Old Lie (2019) was her second novel and in 2021 her acclaimed non-fiction book, Lies, Damned Lies was published by Ultimo Press. Enclave is her third novel. Since mid 2020 Claire has also been a member of the cultural advisory committee for Agency, a Not-for-profit Indigenous arts Consultancy.
Clare Milledge is an artist and academic, she lives and works between the lands of the Arakwal people in Bundjalung country (Broken Head, Northern NSW) and the lands of the Bidjigal and Gadigal people (Paddington, Sydney). She is a Senior Lecturer at UNSW Art & Design and is represented by STATION gallery.
Coco Klockner is an artist and writer living in New York City. Recent exhibitions include venues such as The Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, Alfred, NY; Interstate Projects, Brooklyn; Guadalajara90210, CDMX; The Luminary, St. Louis; Bass & Reiner, San Francisco; Lubov, New York; ONE Archives, Los Angeles; and Egret Egress, Toronto. They are the author of the book K-Y (Genderfail, 2019) and have published writing with Montez Press, Real Life Magazine, Spike Art Magazine, and Burnaway.
Dale Gorfinkel is a musician-artist whose stylefree improvisational approach informs his performances, instrument-building, and kinetic sound installations. Aiming to reflect an awareness of the dynamic nature of culture and the value of listening as a mode of knowing people and places, Dale is interested in bringing creative communities together and shifting perceived boundaries. Current projects include Prophets, Sounds Like Movement, and Music Yared as well as facilitating Art Day South, an inclusive arts studio with Arts Access Victoria.
Damiano Bertoli was an artist and writer who worked across drawing, theatre, video, prints, installation and sculpture. With works of great humour and intelligence, Bertoli was best known for his ongoing series Continuous Moment, which sprawled a range of mediums across multiple works, ultimately circulating on time itself. His practice gravitated toward aesthetic and cultural moments, particularly related to his birth year of 1969.
Daniel Green is an artist and performer. His practice explores the objects and media we use to occupy our time, and how they are used to give our lives meaning. Daniel’s work has been exhibited within Campbelltown Arts Centre, Pelt, Artspace and BUS Projects, and has performed at Electrofringe, The Now Now Festival, Liquid Architecture, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, and Cafe OTO in London. He lives and works in London.
Daniel Jenatsch makes interdisciplinary works that explore the interstices between affect and information. His work combines hyper-detailed soundscapes, music and video to create multimedia documentaries, installations, radio pieces, and performances. He is the winner of the 2020 John Fries award. His works have been presented in exhibitions and programs at ACCA, UNSW, Arts House, Kunstenfestivaldesarts, the Athens Biennale, NextWave Festival, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Liquid Architecture Festival, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, and the MousonTurm, Frankfurt.
Danni Zuvela is a curator and writer based in Melbourne and the Gold Coast. Her research is informed by interests in feminism, activism, ecology, language and performance. With Joel Stern, Danni has led Liquid Architecture as Artistic Director, and continues to develop curatorial projects for the organisation.
Debris Facility Pty Ltd is a para-corporate entity who engages im/material contexts with the view to highlight and disrupt administrative forms and their embedded power relations. Deploying print, design, installation, and wearables as the most visible parts of operations, they also work in experimental pedagogy and perforated performance of labour. They are a white-settler parasite with theft and dispossession as the implicated ground from which they work. They currently hold contracts with Liquid Architecture, Victorian College of the Arts, Monash University and Debris Facility Pty Ltd.
Diego Ramirez makes art, writes about culture, and labours in the arts. In 2018, he showed his video work in a solo screening by ACCA x ACMI and he performed in Lifenessless at West Space x Gertrude Contemporary in 2019. His work has been shown locally and internationally at MARS Gallery, ACMI, Westspace, Torrance Art Museum, Hong-Gah Museum, Careof Milan, Buxton Cotntemporary, WRO Media Art Biennale, Human Resources LA, Art Central HK, Sydney Contemporary, and Deslave. His words feature in Art and Australia, NECSUS, un Projects, Runway Journal, Art Collector, and Australian Book Review. He is represented by MARS Gallery, Editor-at-large at Running Dog and Gallery Manager at SEVENTH.
Dimitri Troaditis works in the Greek-Australian media. As a poet he has been extensively published in Greece and in Australia in numerous literary journals, websites, blogs and anthologies. He has published six poetry collections and two social history books so far. He has organised poetry readings in Melbourne for years and translates others’ poetry. He runs poetry website To Koskino and was a resident of Coburg for 19 years.
Douglas Kahn is an historian and theorist of energies in the arts, sound in the arts and sound studies, and media arts, from the late-nineteenth century to the present. He lives on unceded Dharug and Gundungurra land. His books include Energies in the Arts (MIT Press, 2019); Earth Sound Earth Signal: Energies and Earth Magnitude in the Arts (University of California Press, 2013); Noise Water Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts (MIT Press, 1999); Mainframe Experimentalism: Early Computing and the Foundations of Digital Arts, edited with Hannah Higgins (University of California Press, 2012); and Source: Music of the Avant-garde, edited with Larry Austin (University of California Press, 2011).
Dr. Lawrence Abu Hamdan
Internationally Known Private Ear
Serving Industries of Culture Since 2007
Licensed & Bonded: Goldsmiths College, University of London
Civil | Criminal | Human | Marital | Theological | Supernatural
Bureaus: Beirut, Berlin, Dubai, London
Dylan Martorell is an artist and musician based in Narrm/Melbourne Victoria. He is a founding member of Slow Art Collective, Snawklor, Hi God People, and Forum of Sensory Motion. He has performed and exhibited internationally, including projects with; Art Dubai, Asian Art Biennale, Tarrawarra Biennale, Jakarta Biennale and Kochi Muzirus Biennale. His work often combines site-specific materiality and music to create temporary sites for improvised community engagement.
Dylan Robinson is a xwélméxw (Stó:lō) writer, artist, scholar and curator, He is Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts, and associate professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He is author of Hungry Listening, Resonant Theory for Indigenous Sound Studies, published by University of Minnesota Press.
Elena Biserna is a scholar and independent curator based in Marseille (France), working at the intersection of social, political and public spheres.
Eloise Sweetman loves art, misses her home in Western Australia, all the time loving Rotterdam where she became friends with Pris Roos whose artwork Sweetman speaks of. Sweetman is a curator, artist, writer and teacher working in intimacy, not knowing and material relation. She started Shimmer with Dutch-Australian artist Jason Hendrik Hansma in 2017.
Author of Hearing the Cloud (Zero Books), Emile Frankel is a writer and composer researching the changing conditions of online listening. In his spare time he runs the science fiction and critical fantasy publisher Formling.
Curious about the tender intersections between art, life and friendships, Emma Nixon is an emerging curator and writer. In 2018 she completed a Bachelor of Art History and Curating at Monash University and co-founded Cathedral Cabinet ARI in the Nicholas Building. In Melbourne she has curated and written about exhibitions that investigate subjects such as abstraction, the domestic, care and collage within contemporary art.
Emma Ramsay is active across experimental dance and DIY music; sound performance; and other text collaborations. She works in community media and archives.
Emma Russell is a critical carceral studies scholar and senior lecturer in crime, justice and legal studies at La Trobe University, Australia. She researches and writes on policing and criminalisation, prisons, detention, and activism. Emma is the author of Queer Histories and the Politics of Policing (2020) and co-author of Resisting Carceral Violence: Women’s Imprisonment and the Politics of Abolition (2018).
Eric Avery is a Ngiyampaa, Yuin, Bandjalang and Gumbangirr artist. As part of his practice Eric plays the violin, dances and composes music. Working with his family’s custodial songs he seeks to revive and continue on an age old legacy – continuing the tradition of singing in his tribe – utilising his talents to combine and create an experience of his peoples culture.
Fayen d’Evie is an artist and writer, based in Muckleford, Australia. Her projects are often conversational and collaborative, and resist spectatorship by inviting audiences into sensorial readings of artworks. Fayen advocates the radical potential for blindness, arguing that blindness offers critical positions and methods attuned to sensory translations, ephemerality, the tangible and the intangible, concealment, uncertainty, the precarious, and the invisible. With artist Katie West, Fayen co-founded the Museum Incognita, which revisits neglected or obscured histories through scores that activate embodied readings. Fayen is also the founder of 3-ply, which investigates artist-led publishing as an experimental site for the creation, dispersal, translation, and archiving of texts.
Fjorn Butler is an artist, researcher, and event organiser. As an artist, she works primarily in sound and performance under the name Papaphilia. As a researcher, she interrogates how biological discourses are used in neoliberal/colonial governance structures to shape the political. Fjorn's research informs her writing on sound-poetics and the challenges this framework poses to anglophone notions of property. She is also co-director of Future Tense and co-curator of Writing and Concepts.
Frances Barrett is an artist who lives and works on Kaurna land in Tarntanya/Adelaide. Frances is currently Lecturer in Contemporary Art at University of South Australia.
Francis Carmody’s artistic practice serves as a useful alibi to reach out to people he admires across disciplines and technical capabilities to share stories and complete projects. Through tracing networks and natural structures, he would like to get to the bottom of what the hell is going on.
This process of enquiry draws on meticulous research, cold calling, persistence and frequent rejection. Creating an ever-expanding list of Project Partners.
Francis Plagne is a musician and writer. He has written about contemporary art for several major Australian publications and institutions. His musical work integrates idiosyncratic forms of songwriting with a variety of other approaches, including group improvisation, instrumental miniatures, and domestic musique concrète. He has been performing live regularly since 2005 and has released recordings on labels such as Black Truffle, Horn of Plenty, Kye Records, Penultimate Press and his own Mould Museum micro-label.
Freya Schack-Arnott is an Australian/Danish cellist who enjoys a multi-faceted career as a soloist and ensemble performer of classical and contemporary repertoire, curator and improviser within experimental music, electronics, popular and cross-disciplinary art forms. Schack-Arnott regularly performs with Australia's leading new music ensembles, including ELISION Ensemble (as core member) and Ensemble Offspring. Her curatorial roles include co-curator/founder of the regular 'Opus Now' music series and previous curator of the NOW Now festival and Rosenberg Museum.
Geoff Robinson is a Melbourne-based artist working on Wurundjeri country. Robinson creates event-based artworks that utilise the temporal qualities of sound and performance and the spatial conditions of physical sites to unravel the durational layers of place. Robinson has presented projects with Titanik, Turku; Bus Projects, Melbourne; Liquid Architecture, Melbourne; and MoKS, Mooste, Estonia. He was awarded the Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture 2014 and completed the PhD project Durational Situation at MADA, Monash University, Melbourne, 2018.
Georgia Hutchison is a cultural development practitioner and arts executive in Naarm/Melbourne, and Executive Director/CEO of Liquid Architecture. Her practice as an artist, educator, organiser and strategist crosses contemporary art, music, design and social justice.
Gooooose (Han Han) is an electronic music producer, visual artist and software developer based in Shanghai, China. His current releases include They (D Force, 2017), Dong 1 (D Force, 2018), Pro Rata (ANTE-RASA, 2019). Gooooose's 2019 SVBKVLT–released RUSTED SILICON received positive reviews from media including boomkat, Resident Advisor, Dusted Magazine, and The Wire. Gooooose has performed live at CTM (Berlin, 2018), Nyege Nyege (Kampala, 2019), Soft Centre (Sydney, 2019), Unsound (Kraków, 2019) and Recombinant (San Francisco, 2019).
Harmony Holiday is a writer, dancer, archivist, director, and the author of four collections of poetry, Negro League Baseball, Go Find Your Father/A Famous Blues, Hollywood Forever, and A Jazz Funeral for Uncle Tom. She lives in New York and Los Angeles.
Haroon Mirza is an artist who intertwines his practice with the role of composer. Mirza considers electricity his main medium and creates atmospheric environments through the linking together of light, sound, music, videos and elements of architecture. Regularly showing internationally in group and solo exhibitions, Mirza’s work has also been included in the 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, China (2012) and the 54th Venice Biennale, Italy (2011), where he was awarded the Silver Lion.
Holly Childs is an artist and writer. Her research involves filtering stories of computation through frames of ecology, earth, memory, poetry, and light. She is the author of two books: No Limit (Hologram, Melbourne) and Danklands (Arcadia Missa, London), and she collaborates with Gediminas Žygus on ‘Hydrangea’. She is currently writing her third book, What Causes Flowers Not to Bloom?.
Holly Herndon experiments at the outer reaches of dance music and pop. Born in Tennessee, Herndon spent her formative years in Berlin’s techno scene and repatriated to San Francisco, where she completed her PhD at Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. Her albums include Platform (2015) and Proto (2019).
Iliass Saoud was born in Halba, Lebanon in 1960 as the sixth of eight children of Wakim and Nadima Saoud. Escaping the Lebanese Civil War in 1977, Iliass migrated to Canada pursued a BA in Mathematics from Dalhouse University in 1982. In 1987 he married Janice Joseph (Fakhry) before settling in Australia to raise his family in 1997, owning a variety of small businesses including the Gaffney Street post office across from the Lincoln Mill’s Centre in Coburg from 2005-2011. Currently, Iliass works part time at a local newsagency and is an avid Bridge player and a dedicated grandfather of one.
The Convoy conjure illustrious soundscapes from the abyss of chaos, revealing hidden worlds of the imagination as the performance takes form and infuses with subjective experience. Using instruments of sound, light and smell, The Convoy enchant space with themes of tension, evolution, entropy and regeneration. Sensorial immersion transports audiences through highly dynamic environments that shift and blend into one single, breathing moment. As entity, rather than singular, Immy Chuah is a guest within The Convoy on unceded land.
Isha Ram Das is a composer and sound artist primarily concerned with ecologies of environment and culture. He works with experimental sound techniques to produce performances, installations and recordings. He was the 2019 recipient of the Lionel Gell Award for Composition, and has scored feature-length films and nationally-touring theatre installations. He has performed at institutions such as the Sydney Opera House; Black Dot Gallery, Melbourne; Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; Metro Arts, Brisbane; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; and Boxcopy, Brisbane.
Ivan Cheng's recent works are context specific situations, dealing with language and driven by relations with collaborators and hosts. His background as a performer and musician form the basis for using performance as a critical medium. Invested in questions around publics and accessibility, he produces videos, objects, paintings and publications as anchors for the staging of complex and precarious spectacles. His work is presented internationally, and he has initiated project space bologna.cc in Amsterdam since 2017.
Ivy Alvarez’s poetry collections include The Everyday English Dictionary, Disturbance, and Mortal. Her latest is Diaspora: Volume L (Paloma Press, 2019). A Fellow of MacDowell Colony (US), and Hawthornden (UK), her work is widely published and anthologised (twice in Best Australian Poems), with poems translated into Russian, Spanish, Japanese and Korean. Born in the Philippines and raised in Australia, she lived in Wales for almost a decade, before arriving in New Zealand in 2014.
Jacqui Shelton is an artist and writer born on Barada Barna land, central QLD, and based in Narrm, Melbourne. Her work uses text, performance, film-making and photography to explore the complications of performance and presence, and how voice, language, and image can collaborate or undermine one another. She is especially interested in how emotion and embodied experience can be made public and activated to reveal a complex politics of living-together, and the tensions this makes visible. She has produced exhibitions and performance works in association with institutions including Gertrude Contemporary, the Institute of Modern Art, West Space, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Tarrawarra Museum, and with Channels Festival and Liquid Architecture. Shelton has shown work internationally in Milan at Care-Of, and at NARS Inc in New York City. She teaches photography at Monash University and in the Masters of Media program at RMIT, and holds a PhD from Monash University.
James Hazel is a composer/artist/researcher based on the unceded Gadigal land of the Eora Nation. As someone who lived in an underclass (social-housing) community for fourteen years, James employs extended score practices across sound, music, utterance, and (re)performance to interrogate what it means to live, love, and listen under precarity – stemming from both lived/researched experiences of poverty. As an advocate in this area, James has commissioned several artists from low-SES backgrounds through ADSR Zine.
In recent years, James has 'worked' for the dole; various call centres; and, more recently, as a casual academic in musicology at USYD. In 2021, James was selected as one of the ABC Top 5 Researchers (Arts).
James Parker is an academic at Melbourne Law School and long-time associate curator with Liquid Architecture. His work explores the many relations between law, sound and listening. He is currently working on machine listening with Joel Stern and Sean Dockray.
James Rushford is an Australian composer-performer who holds a doctorate from the California Institute of the Arts, and was a 2018 fellow at Academy Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart. His work is drawn from a familiarity with specific concrète, improvised, avant-garde and collagist languages. Currently, his work deals with the aesthetic concept of musical shadow. James has been commissioned as a composer by ensembles including the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (Glasgow), and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and regularly performs in Australia and internationally.
Jannah Quill’s deconstructive exploration of electronic instruments and technologies manifests in electronic music production and experimental audio-visual performance and installation. Jannah modifies existing technologies (such as solar panels) into innovative light-to-audio systems, used with software/hardware experimentation and modular synthesis to carve a distinct voice in electronic music and art.
Jared Davis is a writer and curator based in London with an interest in independent music, sound culture, and its politics. He is Associate Editor of AQNB and co-host of the editorial platform’s Artist Statement podcast.
Jasmine Guffond is an artist and composer working at the interface of social, political, and technical infrastructures. Focused on electronic composition across music and art contexts her practice spans live performance, recording, installation and custom made browser add-ons. Through the sonification of data she addresses the potential of sound to engage with contemporary political questions and engages listening as a situated-knowledge practice.
Jason De Santolo (Garrwa and Barunggam) is a researcher & creative producer based in the School of Design, University of Technology Sydney, Australia. He has worked with his own communities as an activist and advocate using film and performance, protest and education to bring attention to injustices and design solutions using Indigenous knowledge.
Jen Callaway is a Melbourne musician, sound and performance artist, photographer, and community services worker raised in various parts of Tasmania. Current projects include bands Is There a Hotline?, Propolis, Snacks and Hi God People; and upcoming film Here at the End, by Campbell Walker, as actor/co-writer.
Jessica Aszodi is an Australian-born, London-based vocalist who has premiered many new pieces, performed work that has lain dormant for centuries, and sung roles ranging from standard operatic repertoire to artistic collaborations. She has been a soloist with ensembles including ICE; the Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras; and San Diego and Chicago Symphony Orchestras’ chamber series. Aszodi can be heard on numerous recordings and has sung in festivals around the world. She holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the Queensland Conservatorium, an MFA from the University of California, and is co-director of the Resonant Bodies Festival (Australia), and artistic associate of BIFEM.
Jessie Scott is a practising video artist, writer, programmer and producer who works across the spectrum of screen culture in Melbourne. She is a founding member of audiovisual art collective Tape Projects, and co-directed and founded the inaugural Channels Video Art Festival in 2013.
Jim Denley is one of Australia's foremost improvisers. Over a career spanning four decades his work has emphasised the use of recording technologies, collaboration, and a concern with site-specificity.
Joee Mejias is a musician and video artist from Manila. She is co-producer of WSK, the first and only international festival of digital arts and new media in the Philippines and co-founder of HERESY, a new platform for women in sound and multimedia. She performs as Joee & I: her avant-pop electronica solo project.
Joel Sherwood Spring is a Wiradjuri man raised between Redfern and Alice Springs who works across research, activism, architecture, installation and speculative projects. At present, his work focuses on the contested narratives of Sydney’s and Australia’s urban culture and indigenous history in the face of ongoing colonisation.
Joel Stern is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the School of Media and Communication at RMIT, and an Associate Editor at Disclaimer. With a background in experimental music, Stern’s work — spanning research, curation, and art — focuses on practices of sound and listening and how these shape our contemporary worlds. From 2013-2022 he was the Artistic Director of Liquid Architecture.
Berlin-based composer-performer Johnny Chang engages in extended explorations surrounding the relationships of sound/listening and the in-between areas of improvisation, composition and performance. Johnny is part of the Wandelweiser composers collective and currently collaborates with: Catherine Lamb (Viola Torros project), Mike Majkowski (illogical harmonies), Phill Niblock, Samuel Dunscombe, Derek Shirley and others.
Jolyon Jones is a Berlin-based student of fine arts at the University of Arts Berlin. He works primarily between sculpture, drawing, print media and sound. With an interest in practices of labour, Jolyon draws upon his background in anthropology exploring embedded concepts through research and architecture and the latent possibilities of everyday materials such as concrete, graphite, and silicone to access speculative narratives and the construction of mementos.
Jon Watts is a Melbourne/Naarm based musician, designer, 3D artist and animator. His music has been released through cult labels SUMAC and Butter Sessions, and he is currently Senior Multimedia Installer at the National Gallery of Victoria.
Josten Myburgh is a musician based on Whadjuk Noongar boodja country who plays with techniques from the worlds of electro-acoustic music, radio art, free improvisation, field recording and experimental composition. He co-directs exploratory music label Tone List and the Audible Edge festival. He has performed in South Africa, the United States, and throughout South East Asia, Europe and Australia. He is a Schenberg Fellow and a student of Antoine Beuger and Michael Pisaro.
Joy Zhou is a China born emerging artist and design practitioner based in Naarm/Melbourne. Informed by their background in Interior Design, Joy’s practice entails gestures of queering which unfold encounters and events that draw relationships between people, places, and spaces.
Julius Killerby is an artist living and working in London. His work focuses on the psychological ripple effects of certain cultural and societal transformations. Part of Julius’ practice also includes portraiture, and in 2017 he was nominated as a finalist in the Archibald Prize for his portrait of Paul Little. His work has been exhibited at VCA Art Space, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Art Gallery of Ballarat, and Geelong Gallery.
Katie West is a multi-disciplinary artist who lives on Noongar Ballardong boodja and belongs to the Yindjibarndi people of the Pilbara tablelands in Western Australia. The process and notion of naturally dyeing fabric underpin her practice – the rhythm of walking, gathering, bundling, boiling up water and infusing materials with plant matter. The objects, installations and happenings that Katie creates invite attention to the ways we weave our stories, places, histories, and futures.
Kaz Therese (they/them) grew up on Darug land in Mt Druitt, Western Sydney. They are an interdisciplinary artist and cultural leader with a practice grounded in performance, activism and community building. Their work is inspired by place and narrative from working class & underclass settings. From 2013- 2020 they were the Artistic Director of PYT Fairfield. Kaz directed the Helpmann nominated PLAYLIST (premiered 2018), UnWrapped, Sydney Opera House (2019) Other works include TRIBUNAL presented at Griffin Theatre, ArtsHouse Melbourne, Sydney Opera House, Sydney Festival; WOMEN OF FAIRFIELD with MCA C3West and STARTTS, winning the Sydney Myer Arts & Cultural Award for Best Arts Program (2016).Kaz is founder of FUNPARK ,Mt Druitt (Sydney Festival 2014) and a graduate of the 2019 Australia Council Cultural Leadership program.
Kengné Téguia is a Black Deaf HIV+ cyborg artist, who works from sound deafinitely. #TheBLACKRevolutionwillbeDEAFinitelyLoud
Kt Spit (Katie Collins) is an artist and musician based in Narrm (Melbourne). Lyrically and visually her work explores subcultural narratives and challenges dominant representations of loss, grief, and true love. In 2015 Kt independently released her debut album, Combluotion, and in 2019 will release a visual album entitled Kill the King.
Kynan Tan is an artist interested in the relations and conditions of computational systems, with a focus on data, algorithm, networks, materiality, control, and affect. These areas are explored using computer-generated artworks that take the form of simulations, video, sound, 3d prints, text, code, and generative algorithms.
Las Chinas is the cosmic coincidences led to the meeting of Chileans Sarita Gálvez and Camila Marambio in Melbourne. Their shared reverence for the ancestral flautón chino from the Andes Mountains lead to playful explorations of its unique dissonant sounds and thereafter to experimenting with atonal signing and other technologies of the spirit.
Influenced by Chilean feminist poet Cecilia Vicuña, the now deceased poet Fidel Sepúlveda, the musical ensemble La Chimuchina and the chino bands from the townships of La Canela and Andacollo, Las Chinas honours the ancestral tradition by enacting the principle of tearing each other apart.
Laura McLean is a curator, writer, and researcher based in Naarm Melbourne. She is an Associate Curator at Liquid Architecture, member of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S), and is currently undertaking a PhD in Curatorial Practice at MADA, Monash University. Past curatorial projects include CIVICS, Maroondah Federation Estate Gallery, Melbourne (2020); Startup States, Sarai-CSDS, Delhi (2019); and Contingent Movements Archive, Maldives Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale (2013). Her writing is included in edited books published by Arena, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and the MIT Press, among others, and has been published by journals including Eyeline, Realtime, HKW Technosphere Magazine, and ArtAsiaPacific.
Originally from the Gulf of Carpentaria, Laurie May has made home here in the desert in Mparntwe. With Aboriginal ancestry from Central Queensland from her father and New Zealand heritage from her ma they have the saltwater, the red dirt and long white cloud in their veins. Embracing trauma and a troubled youth to bring you anti-capitalist poetry that makes you think. Laurie is also the Festival Director for the Red Dirt Poetry Festival and an award winning event producer.
Leighton Craig is an artist living in Meanjin/Brisbane. He has been in a number of bands (The Lost Domain, G55, The Deadnotes et al) and is currently a member of the duo Primitive Motion with Sandra Selig.
Liang Luscombe is a Naarm/Melbourne-based visual artist whose practice encompasses painting, sculpture and moving image that engage in a process of generative questioning of how media and film affect audiences.
Lin Chi-Wei is a legend of Taiwanese sonic art, whose practice incorporates folklore culture, noise, ritual, and audience participation.
Lisa Lerkenfeldt is a multi-disciplinary artist working in sound, gesture and performance. Central to her practice is languages of improvisation and intimacy with technology. Traces of a personal discipline and form of graphic notation are introduced in the online exhibition 14 Gestures. The associated recorded work Collagen (Shelter Press, 2020) disrupts the role of the common hair comb through gesture and sound.
Lucreccia Quintanilla is an artist, writer, DJ and recently completed her PhD at Monash University. Her writing and art have been published and exhibited both within Australia and internationally. Quintanilla’s practice is a collaborative one that manifests into outcomes within galleries and also as events and performances outside of that context. She regularly speaks at panels and symposiums on themes within her research, has received grants for her projects and residencies.
Luisa Lana was born in Australia in 1953. Her mother Nannina had arrived in Australia in 1950 with a 3 month old son, and worked for many years on the sewing room floors and her father Angelo worked on the docks where he helped unionise the Italian workforce. Luisa and her brother were latchkey kids, as they looked after themselves in the morning and ran the ‘Continental’ deli in the evenings. Luisa attained a teaching degree, then a postgrad in Social Sciences, and twice studied Italian at The University for Foreigners in Perugia, Italy. Luisa married Luigino Lana, a Venetian migrant who operated a mechanic business in Brunswick for over 30 years. She devoted her life to being an educator and a mother, teaching Italian to English speakers and English to generations of migrants from around the world. Currently Luisa is translating her father's memoirs from Italian to English, and enjoying being a Nonna.
Luke Conroy is a Tasmanian multidisciplinary artist currently based in The Netherlands. With a background in sociology and arts education, Luke’s artistic practice engages with socio-cultural topics in meaningful yet playful ways, utilising humour and irony as essential tools for critical reflection and expression. The outcome of his work utilises an ever-evolving multimedia and audio-visual practice which includes photography, digital-art, video, sound, VR, textile, text, and installation.
Lu Yang (b. Shanghai, China) is a multimedia artist based in Shanghai. Mortality, androgyny, hysteria, existentialism and spiritual neurology feed Lu’s jarring and at times morbid fantasies. Also taking inspiration and resources from Anime, gaming and Sci-fi subcultures, Lu explores his fantasies through mediums including 3D animation, immersive video game installation, holographic, live performances, virtual reality, and computer programming. Lu has collaborated with scientists, psychologists, performers, designers, experimental composers, Pop Music producers, robotics labs, and celebrities throughout his practice.
Lu Yang has held exhibitions at UCCA (Beijing), MWoods (Beijing), Cc Foundation (Shanghai), Spiral (Tokyo), Fukuoka Museum of Asian Art (Fukuoka, Japan), Société (Berlin), MOCA Cleveland (Cleveland, Ohio). He has participated in several international biennials and triennials such as 2021 Asia Society Triennial (New York), 2012 & 2018 Shanghai Biennial, 2018 Athens Biennale, 2016 Liverpool Biennial, 2016 International Digital Art Biennale (Montreal), Chinese Pavilion of the 56th Venice Biennale, and 2014 Fukuoka Triennial. In 2020, Lu Yang was included in Centre Pompidou’s exhibition Neurons, simulated intelligence in Paris. In 2019, Lu was the winner of the 8th BMW Art Journey and started the Yang Digital Incarnation project.
makik markie yammamoroto
Mandy Nicholson is a Wurundjeri-willam (Wurundjeri-baluk patriline) artist and Traditional Custodian of Melbourne and surrounds. Mandy also has connections to the Dja Dja wurrung and Ngurai illam wurrung language groups of the Central/Eastern Kulin Nation. Mandy gained a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Aboriginal Archaeology in 2011, worked for the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages for six years and is now a PhD candidate studying how Aboriginal people connect to Country, Off Country.
Mara Schwerdtfeger is a composer / curator / audio producer based in Eora / Sydney. She plays the viola and collaborates with her laptop to create live performances and recorded pieces for film, dance, and gallery spaces.
Maria Moles is an Australian drummer, composer and producer based in Narrm/Melbourne.
Martina Becherucci graduated in Cultural Heritage at the University of Milan and is currently completing her studies with a Master degree in Economics and Management of Arts and Cultural Activities at the Ca' Foscari University of Venice. Martina loves being in contact with visitors in museums and galleries, during temporary exhibitions and cultural events.
Martyn Reyes is a Filipino-Australian writer and artist based in Madrid. His work can be found in the Sydney Review of Books, Kill Your Darlings, SBS Voices, LIMINAL Magazine and more. He is currently working on a book-length project.
Mat Dryhurst is an artist who releases music and artworks solo and in conjunction with Holly Herndon and the record label PAN. Dryhurst developed the decentralised publishing framework Saga, which enables creators to claim ownership of each space in which their work appears online, and a number of audio plays that derive their narrative from the personal information of listeners. He lectures on issues of music, technology, and ideology at NYU, and advises the blockchain-based platform co-operative Resonate.is.
Mat Spisbah is a New Media curator with a unique portfolio of programming that seeks to integrate non-traditional artistic methods and emerging technologies. Having lived in Hong Kong for 14 years, he is connected to the region’s art and culture, and has created professional networks with artists, curators, galleries, promoters and industry professionals across Australasia. Portfolio highlights include the debut Australian performances of north Asian artists including: Howie Lee, Rui Ho, Meuko Meuko, Pan Daijing, Alex Zhang Hungtai, Tzusing, and Gabber Modus Operandi.
Mattin is a cross disciplinary artist working with noise, improvisation and dissonance. His work Social Dissonance was presented at documenta 14 in 2017 in Kassel and Athens.
Megan Alice Clune shifts between musician, composer and artist. Primarily, her work explores both the concept and aesthetics of ambient music through sound installation, collaboration and performance. Megan is the founding member of the Alaska Orchestra, and has presented work and undertaken residencies across Australia, Asia, Europe and North America, including the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival (MA), Next Wave Festival, Underbelly Arts Festival, Performa 15 (NYC) and VividLIVE at the Sydney Opera House.
Megan Cope is a Quandamooka woman (North Stradbroke Island) in South East Queensland. Her site-specific sculptural installations, video work and paintings investigate issues relating to identity, the environment and mapping practices. Cope’s work often resists prescribed notions of Aboriginality and becomes psychogeographies across various material outcomes that challenge the grand narrative of ‘Australia’ as well as our sense of time and ownership in a settler colonial state.
Mehak Sawhney is a scholar, curator, and activist with research interests in sound and media cultures of South Asia. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Communication Studies at McGill University. Funded by the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, her doctoral project explores audio and targeted state surveillance in postcolonial India. She has also been associated with Sarai-CSDS in Delhi since 2017. Previously, her ethnographic work has studied urban sound and listening cultures as well as the politics of machine listening and voice interfaces in contemporary India. Her academic and public writing has been published in Media, Culture & Society, Amodern, and The Wire, among others.
Melissa Johnson is Associate Professor of Art History & Visual Culture at Illinois State University (Normal, IL). Her scholarly research focuses on the histories of craft and its intersections with modern and contemporary art. She is currently working on a project that explores artists making work in response to the writings of Virginia Woolf. She’s deeply interested in situating her academic writing and her textile-based work as parallel practices, and is working on two writing and textile projects, “Woolf Words” and “Haptic Investigations,” and a project on mending and repair.
Michael Terren is a musician and educator from Boorloo/Perth. Grounded in experimental studio-based practice, his work explores the social construction of the technologies of music’s creation and distribution. He is a sessional academic teaching music at two Boorloo universities, and in 2019 finished a PhD thesis entitled 'The grain of the digital audio workstation'.
Michiko Ogawa is a performer-composer specialising in the clarinet, born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. She performs not only classical repertoire but also contemporary and experimental music, including free improvisation and film soundtrack work. In 2019 she was awarded a doctorate (DMA) from the University of California San Diego, with a dissertation focusing on the film music of Teiji Ito. She is in the beginning stages of writing a biography of Ito’s life.
Mitch L Ryan is a writer whose work explores histories of countercultures, music, media, and politics.
MP Hopkins is an artist working on Gadigal and Wangal land in Sydney, Australia that makes audio, performance, radiophonic, and textual works. He uses voice, feedback, recording/playback devices, and verbal notation within different acoustic environments, which are deconstructed and presented to the listener in delicate and degraded ways. Hopkins has released recordings with Penultimate Press, Canti Magnetici, Tahalamos, Mappa Editions and Regional Bears. He has presented projects for the NOW now, Liquid Architecture, Avantwhatever, and The Make It Up Club. International appearances include Café Oto, UK; LaSalle College of the Arts, Singapore; Les Ateliers Claus, Belgium; TUSK Festival, UK; Colour Out of Space Festival, UK; and he has produced radiophonic works for Radiophrenia, Kunstradio, and the Radia network.
MSHR is an art collective that builds and explores sculptural electronic systems. Their practice is a self-transforming entity with its outputs patched into its inputs, expressing its form through interactive installations, virtual environments and live improvisations. MSHR was established in 2011 in Portland, Oregon by Brenna Murphy and Birch Cooper. Their name is a modular acronym, designed to hold varied ideas over time.
Myriad Sun are an experimental audio/visual/rap trio from Walyalup (Fremantle), Australia, composed of electronic producer Ben Aguero, Mc POW! Negro, and Limit Bashr. Additional performers: Mali Jose, Billy Jack Narkle and Polly-Pearl Greenhalgh.
Natasha Tontey is an artist and graphic designer based in Yogyakarta. She is interested in exploring the concept of fiction as a method of speculative thinking. Through her artistic practice she investigates the idea of how fear, horror, and terror could be manifested in order to control the public and how fictional accounts of the history and myth surrounding ‘manufactured fear’ might operate as a method of speculative fiction that determines expectations for the future.
Nathan Gray is an artist whose recent works use voice as their medium, taking form as lecture-performances, radio-plays and documentaries, DJ sets, narrative and rumour.
Neil Morris is a Yorta Yorta, Dja Dja Wurrung man. He is well known in Narrm/Birraranga for his musical project DRMNGNOW, a project built on subject matter tackling the colonial nature of the Australian construct and how that affects contemporary society upon this land. The work is unapologetic, clear, and deeply poetic. It hints toward Morris's extensive experience as a spoken word artist in Narrm since 2015. Morris's work is triumphant in the face of severe adversity often imbued in a quite fortified melancholy, a powerful marker of the survival of First Nations peoples in the now.
Nick Ashwood is a guitarist, composer, improviser and performer from Nipaluna/Tasmania now residing in Sydney. His focuses have been exploring deep listening, harmonic space and the possibilities of the steel-string acoustic guitar by means of preparations, just intonation, objects and bowing.
Nico Niquo, a.k.a Nico Callaghan, works and lives in Naarm/Melbourne, Australia. Since 2015, he has produced and released music under a variety of monikers with the North American label Orange Milk Records and Australian label Daisart. He has performed across Australia, East Asia, and Europe.
Noah Simblist works as a curator, writer, and artist with a focus on art and politics, specifically the ways in which contemporary artists address history. He has contributed to Art in America, Terremoto, Art Journal and other publications.
He is also an Associate Professor of Art at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Noemie Cecilia Huttner-Koros is a queer Jewish performance-maker, writer, dramaturg, poet, teaching artist and community organiser living and working on Whadjuk Noongar country in Boorloo (Perth). Her practice is driven by a deep belief in the social, political and communal role of art and performance and in engaging with sites and histories where queer culture, composting and ecological crisis occur.
Pan-Pan Kolektiva was established in March 2020, as a research group on listening. Pan-Pan is a standard emergency call based on the acronym Pan which stands for Pay Attention Now.
Patrick Hase is a digital media artist and researcher, focusing on work that often involves digital interfaces, experimental web design, and collaborative a/v. The entwined practical and theoretical aspects of his work are interested in exploring the embedded cultural and emotional impacts of how people are extended into the virtual via digital processes and designs.
Penelope Cain is interested in landscape in its widest definition, from the extracted, transformed and occupied landscapes of the Anthropocene, to the emergent Post-Carbon.
Her art practice is located interstitially between scientific knowledge and unearthing connected and untold narratives in the world. She works across media and knowledge streams, with scientists, datasets, people, stories, and land, to connect yet to be heard storytellings from the present and near future. She was awarded the Fauvette Loureiro Travelling Scholarship, Glenfiddich Contemporary Art Residency and is currently undertaking a one year S+T+ARTS residency in the Hague, for Rewild, Maxxi, Rome.
Philip Brophy writes on music, among other things.
Poppy de Souza is a Meanjin (Brisbane) based researcher affiliated with Griffith University and UNSW. Her work focuses on the politics of voice and listening—broadly defined—in conditions of inequality and injustice, including the relationship between sound, race, and conditions of (not) being heard. Poppy has previously worked in community arts and cultural development (CACD), and with the national Film and Sound Archive as a curator on australianscreen.
Pris Roos grew up in Rhenen, the Netherlands. Her family migrated from Bogor, Indonesia, to start their own toko in the Netherlands. Toko is the Indonesian word for shop, and they sell non-Western food (products). Roos grew up in the toko, a space of being together, and full of colours, smells, food, stories and images of immigrants. The toko is a source of inspiration for her artistic practices. Stories that are normally not heard find their way in her works. Roos makes portraits of immigrants that she meets in the toko, on the streets or in her surroundings of the South of Rotterdam. She visits them at home or invites them to her atelier. The stories are translated into painted portraits, videos, installations and spoken word performances.
Raven Chacon is a composer, performer and artist from Fort Defiance, Navajo Nation. His work ranges from chamber music to experimental noise, to large scale installations, produced solo and with the Indigenous art collective Postcommodity. At California Institute of the Arts, Chacon studied with James Tenney, Morton Subotnick, Michael Pisaro and Wadada Leo Smith developing a compositional language steeped in both the modernist avant-garde and Indigenous cosmologies and subjectivities. He has written for ensembles, musicians and non-musicians, and for social and educational situations, and toured the world as a noise artist.
Rob Thorne (Ngāti Tumutumu) is a new and original voice in the evolving journey of Taonga Puoro. His debut album Whāia te Māramatanga (Rattle Records) is a deeply felt and highly concentrated conversation between the past and the present—a musical passage of identity and connection. Using modern loop technology and traditional Māori flutes and horns made from stone, bone, shell and wood, Thorne creates a transcendent aural experience that touches the soul with timeless beauty. Every performance of Whāia te Māramatanga is a stunning and very personal exploration of the spiritual and healing qualities of an ancient practice.
Sage J Harlow received a PhD from WAAPA exploring improvised ritual magick using extra-normal vocal technique. She performs under the moniker Sage Pbbbt. Her work is inspired by Tuvan and Mongolian throat singing, Inuit throat singing, extreme metal, sound poetry and an ongoing exploration of extra-normal vocal technique. As well as industrial musick, trance, and drone; insight meditation practice, shamanism and chaos magick; feminist, queer and trans praxis; and Discordianism. As well as a vocalist, Sage plays percussion, bass and theremin. She creates sample-based electronic music and writes text scores that explore the ethics and politics between the players and composer.
Sam Peterson is interested in what can be done with one’s identity and the space around it.
'Both my body and mind, touching everyday feelings between the rational, the playful and the political. Of course, this is often to do with my disability and my sexuality. My work has been focused on access, and the lack of it — to places, people’s minds and opportunities. I find plasticine is a great subverter of space and potentially of people’s minds. And the continued flexibility of it is something I am really enjoying — covering or filling up gaps and playing with crevices. But I’m finding that my work is drawing more and more to spoken word as a powerful format.'
Sarah McCauley is a Melbourne-based music producer, editor and writer.
Australian musician Sean Baxter died on 15 March 2020. Part of Melbourne's improv scene, he is described by musician Anthony Pateras as possessing “a unique aesthetic vision and intellectual depth, mixing highbrow philosophical concepts with punk sensibilities in how he lived, spoke and played. He was pure energy.”
Drumkit and percussionist, Sean was an Australian improviser who forged an international reputation as a bold explorer of percussive possibilities both as a soloist and through his work with the acclaimed avant-garde trio, Pateras/Baxter/Brown. Focusing on the use of extended techniques applied to the conventional drum kit, he utilised an arsenal of metallic junk and other percussive detritus to expand the sonic palette of the percussion tradition. In addition to Pateras/Baxter/Brown, he was involved in many collaborations and was drummer for groups The Throwaways, Bucketrider, Lazy, SxSxSx and Terminal Hz.
Sean Dockray is an artist, writer, and programmer living in Melbourne whose work explores the politics of technology, with a particular emphasis on artificial intelligences and the algorithmic web. He is also the founding director of the Los Angeles non-profit Telic Arts Exchange, and initiator of knowledge-sharing platforms, The Public School and Aaaaarg.
Sebastian Henry-Jones is a curator led by an interest in writing and DIY thinking. He looks to centre the ideas and requirements of those that he works with, and so his practice is informed by striving for a personal ethics with sincerity, generosity, honest communication and learning at its core.
Seb has staged group exhibitions and independent projects in Sydney and interstate, and is a co-founder of Desire Lines and Emerson. He works as a Curatorial Assistant at the Biennale of Sydney, Associate Curator at West Space, and was previously Editor at Runway Journal. He is currently based in Naarm.
Shareeka Helaluddin is a sound artist, DJ, producer at FBi Radio and community facilitator working in queer mental health. Creating under the pseudonym akka, her practice is concerned with drone, dissonance, memory, ritual, generative somatics and a pursuit of deeper listening. She is currently creating on unceded Gadigal and Wangal lands.
Shota is an artist working in Australia. He makes sound-based works for varying contexts. He has had the opportunity to collaborate with a multitude of artists from varying disciplines. Shota is currently an honours student who is associated with the Plant ecophysiology and Ecosystem processes lab at the University of Sydney.
Simon Charles is a composer and performer based in Noongar Ballardong Country (Western Australia). His practice reflects an interest in the instability of compositional structures; as friction between musical notation and perception and interactions with place. He has performed at Serralvés Festival (Porto), The Wulf (Los Angeles) Studio Rotor (Berlin), Vigeland Mausoleum (Oslo), Avantwhatever Festival (Melbourne), DATA (Marseille), ANAM Quarttethaus and the Melbourne Recital Centre.
Snack Syndicate, two rats (Andrew Brooks and Astrid Lorange) living on unceded Wangal land; texts, objects, events, meals, and publics.
Sonya Holowell is a Dharawal woman, vocalist, composer and writer working across new and experimental genres. The contexts for her work, and the forms they take, are diverse and deeply questioning. Her practice comprises interdisciplinary collaboration, improvisation, multi-form writing and conceptual composition. She is also a workshop facilitator; a curator of the Now Now Festival; lecturer in experimental vocal practice; and a co-founder/editor of online arts publication ADSR Zine.
Sounding Together comprise of the following performers: Rhys Butler (alto saxophone); Simon Charles (soprano saxophone, shakuhachi); Eduardo Cossio (electronics, writing); Luke Cuerel (alto saxophone); Jim Denley (flute, writing); Julia Drouhin (voice, electronics, objects, images); Jameson Feakes (mandolin); Be Gosper (voice, objects); Noemie Huttner-Koros (voice, writing); Lenny Jacobs (percussion); Annette Krebs (amplified string instrument); Annika Moses (voice, images); Josten Myburgh (clarinet, alto saxophone, editing); Dan O’Connor (mastering); Stuart Orchard (guitar, objects, editing); Daisy Sanders (voice, movement).
Spence Messih is an artist living and working on Gadigal land. Their practice speaks broadly to sites of pressure, power structures, materiality, and language, and more specifically about these things in relation to their own trans experience.
Suvani Suri is an artist and researcher based in New Delhi, India. She works with sound, text and intermedia assemblages and has been exploring various modes of transmission such as podcasts, auditory texts, sonic environments, maps, objects, installations, workshops and live interventions. In recent years, her work has been exhibited at Khoj Studios (2014), 4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2018), Mumbai Art Room (2018), Sound Reasons Festival VI (2018), Khoj Curatorial Intensive South Asia (2019), Five Million Incidents (2020). Alongside this, she has been teaching at several universities and educational spaces where her pedagogical interests conflate with a critical inquiry into the digital and sonic sensorium.
Thembi Soddell is a sound artist best known for their powerful acousmatic performances and installations in darkness. In 2019 they were awarded a PhD from RMIT University for their practice-based research titled, A Dense Mass of Indecipherable Fear: The Experiential (Non)Narration of Trauma and Madness through Acousmatic Sound. This research developed a novel approach to understanding lived experiences of anxiety, depression and trauma using a medium (abstract sound) with the unique ability to reflect the intangible nature of the inner world.
Thomas Ragnar is an artist based in Singapore. His work is often underpinned by collaborations, affinities and research with experiential methodologies.
Tiarney Miekus is a writer, editor and musician based in Naarm/Melbourne. Her writing has appeared in The Age, Meanjin, The Lifted Brow (Online), Overland, Memo Review, un Magazine, Art Guide Australia, Swampland and RealTime. She is currently editor and podcast producer at Art Guide Australia.
Timmah Ball is a writer and urban researcher of Ballardong Noongar descent. She has written for The Griffith Review, Right Now, Meanjin, Overland, Westerly, Art Guide Australia, Assemble Papers, The Big Issue, The Lifted Brow, the Victorian Writer magazine and won the Westerly Patricia Hackett Prize for writing.
Tina Stefanou born of Sophia and Yorgios Stefanou is a first/second generation Greek-Australian. Emerging from an East Melbourne hospital on 21 November 1986. She is thirty-six years old. Now based on the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri people in Wattle Glen, Victoria. With a background as a vocalist, she works undisciplined, with and across a diverse range of mediums, practices, approaches, and labours: an embodied practice that she calls, 'voice in the expanded field'.
Tobi Maier is the director of Lisbon’s Municipal Galleries, and recently presented Mattin’s Expanding Concert (2019–2023) a four year long concert distributed in time and space through different media: 5 public interventions in 5 different galleries in Lisbon, and 5 texts published within the city.
Tom Melick is the co-editor of Slug and part of the Rosa Press Collective and Stolon Press.
Tom Smith is an artist, musician, writer and researcher. Narrative 001: The Things We Like was created by Tom Smith, with music by Utility/Austin Benjamin.
His work is concerned with the tyranny and poetics of computational systems, the politics of creative economies, emerging digital subjectivities, planetary futures and music as a mode of critical inquiry. He has worked across speculative fiction, video, curatorial projects, live performance, websites, critical writing and electronic music. Thomas produces music as T.Morimoto, is one half of production duo Utility, and runs independent label Sumactrac with Jarred Beeler (DJ Plead) and Jon Watts.
Thomas’ works have been exhibited and/or performed at institutions including the Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney), Unsound Festival (Poland), National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne), Fondation Fiminco (Paris), Cashmere Radio (Berlin), Central Academy of Fine Arts (Beijing), Nasjonalmuseet (Oslo), Floating Projects (Hong Kong), Goldsmiths College (London), Firstdraft Gallery (Sydney), Queensland University Art Museum (Brisbane), Alaska Projects (Sydney) and Blindside Gallery (Melbourne). Thomas’ writing has been published in Realtime Magazine, Runway Journal, Un Magazine and Plates Journal.
Tricky Walsh is a non-binary artist working in New Norfolk, Tasmania, who works both collaboratively and in a solo capacity. Their projects focus on both spatial and communication concerns in an increasingly speculative manner and while they use a diversity of media (architecture, painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, sound, film, comics, radio) it is foremost the concept at hand that determines which form of material experimentation occurs within these broader themes.
Trisha Low is a writer living in the East Bay. She is the author of The Compleat Purge (Kenning Editions, 2013) and Socialist Realism (Emily Books/Coffee House Press, 2019).
Uzma Falak is a DAAD doctoral candidate in anthropology at the University of Heidelberg where her work focuses on the intersection of sound, time and violence. Her poetry, essays, and reportage have appeared in publications like Guernica, The Baffler, Adi Magazine, Al Jazeera English, Warscapes, The Caravan and several edited volumes and anthologies. She won an honourable mention in the Society for Humanistic Anthropology’s Ethnographic Poetry Award (2017). Her film, Till Then The Roads Carry Her, exploring Kashmir women’s repertories of resistance, has been screened at the Art Gallery of Guelph (Guelph), University of Copenhagen, University of Warsaw, Karlstorkino (Heidelberg), Tate Modern, and others.
V Barratt is a trans-media artist, researcher, writer, and performer living on Kaurna Yarta, Adelaide.
Victoria Pham is an Australian installation artist, composer, archaeologist and evolutionary biologist. She is a PhD Candidate in Biological Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, holding the Cambridge Trust’s International Scholarship. As a composer she has studied with Carl Vine, Richard Gill, Liza Lim and Thierry Escaich. She is represented by the Australian Music Centre as an Associate Artist.
Winnie Dunn is a Tongan-Australian writer and arts worker from Mt Druitt. She is the general manager of Sweatshop: Western Sydney Literacy Movement and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Sydney University. Winnie’s work has been published in the HuffPost Australia, The Saturday Paper, Griffith Review, Meanjin Quarterly, SBS Voices and Cordite. She is the editor of several anthologies including Sweatshop Women, The Big Black Thing and Bent Not Broken. Winnie is currently completing her debut novel as the recipient of a 2019 CAL Ignite Grant.
Xen Nhà is a documentary maker and artist with a background in creating intimate dialogues and storytelling across sound, film, and texts. Their work explores the confluence between personal and collective narratives and the cultural politics and responsibility of listening. They are currently living in Melbourne on unceded Wurundjeri Country.
Yan Jun, a musician based in Beijing uses a wide range of materials such as field recording, body, noise and concept. Yan Jun: “I wish I was a piece of field recording.”
Zoe Scoglio’s (often collaborative) practice explores the space of art as a site of study and sociality to engage the radical imagination towards alternative ways of being, knowing and relating. Current research takes critical and collective somatic approaches towards response-ability in these times of ecological collapse, within settler colonial conditions. Past projects have taken place within varied contexts, on top of mountains and under full moons, as large collective choreographies and intimate encounters.
On the afternoon of 2 October 1989, the sound of a man’s voice blared from a public address system that was pointed out of the window of a warehouse in Sydney’s inner city:
You’re a homosexual? Good! That’s a natural alternative to a morally unbalanced heterosexual society. We are trying to promote homosexual marriages, prostitute lust, lesbians embracing, and thereby putting our society at risk. And it works! There’s no discrimination. We’re trying to articulate the views and attitudes of the lesbian majority. I’ve been to some of their places and seen them embracing and so on. This is a democratic society; lesbians have a right to explicit behaviour. I’ve had to view some films — like Caligula and others — three times. Just for the lesbian sexual scenes with the thought of lust. If I had my hands on the prostitute rubbing his face on my devilish lust before I came. No. Rubbing his face on an angry prostitute. Rubbing his face on Jesus. Jesus was a prostitute, rubbing his face on Judas’ hands and so on. You can put the boot into Jesus. Do what you like to prostitutes. Jesus was an effeminate, angry lesbian prostitute.1
The voice spoke with gravitas, with a level of confidence that made it sound as though a radio interview had been left playing just inside the window of the warehouse. But for those who could listen carefully, it was clear that what was spoken was absurdly at odds with the tone of decorum that the speaker tried to keep. However, for Simon Hunt, the activist and sound designer who had cut this voice together to create the tape and set up the speakers, it was clear that the acoustics were not quite right. As the sound emerged from his window in Syd’s Warehouse on Crown Street, it could not compete with the din of a protest half a block up the hill on Oxford Street.
That afternoon marked the procession of the Cleansing March of Witness for Jesus Christ, an anti-gay rally organised by the arch conservative Reverend Fred Nile. A leading voice of religiously driven and morally outraged homophobia, Nile had recently been elected to the upper house of the New South Wales Parliament after he had served for the previous decade as the founder and head of the Festival of Light, a lobby group that sought to impart a doctrinaire reading of church ideology upon policy makers. According to Nile and his supporters, this event had been organised in reaction to the Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras some eight months prior. They all pedalled a similar line: that god was deeply offended by the blasphemous behaviour he had witnessed that night, and that they would take it upon themselves to march, asking for forgiveness and mercy for all of Sydney. Roughly 1,000 Christians of all denominations had gathered in Belmore Park near Central Station to begin the procession. It was a motley crew of bible bashers, nuns in cream habits, evangelists, glazed over happy clappers, elderly parishioners, and children who had been roped along by their parents.
Nile and company were met with a more organised and spirited counter protest of some 5,000 demonstrators who stationed themselves along the footpaths of Oxford Street. They donned cartoon masks of Nile’s face, tossed pink streamers at marchers, while a few broke the ranks of the footpath and attempted to kiss Nile as he passed by. Some debated the Christians individually, while others attempted to drown out the hymns that were being intoned by the marchers with group chants of ‘Two, four, six, eight, are you sure your priest is straight?’ Others took a more theatrical approach, sweeping a path and rolling out the red carpet for Nile as he processed up the street to where he would address the crowd at Taylor Square.
Amid this throng of demonstration and performance, Hunt had his own plan. Leaving the poor acoustics of the PA system at Syd’s Warehouse behind, he headed up Oxford Street with his boombox and a cassette copy of the recording he was playing earlier in tow. The voice that had emanated from the window had not any old voice, but was that of Nile himself. Drawing upon a set of quarter inch reels of audio tape that were gifted to him from a friend working at the ABC at the time, Hunt had composed the tape first by manually cutting and splicing together individual words, before finessing it on an Emax 16 digital sampler. The words that were spoken had once been uttered by Nile, but the meaning was twisted. Where Nile had originally spouted his anti-gay rhetoric, Hunt had transformed it into the long pro-gay, sex positive, and absurdist rant that had been heard earlier in the day. He had initially spruiked the tape to the Mardi Gras Committee as a piece that could be distributed to the counter demonstrators in advance to play on the day, but that initial plan had been knocked back by a faction of more conservative organisers who took issue with some of the content of the cut-up. Unofficially, some friends and acquaintances took copies of the recording and played them back on their own boomboxes during the march. But Hunt had other ideas of how the recording could be deployed. Hoping to surreptitiously plug his boombox into the the Cleansing March’s PA system, he aimed to replace Nile’s speech with that of his cut-up. However, arriving at the mixing desk where Nile would appear on stage, Hunt found it surrounded by burly security guards who were not there earlier in the day. With no access to the PA system, Nile’s speech went largely as expected.2
At this point, Hunt was working as a sound designer for Australian film and television, where he spent his days recreating the sound of Kylie Minogue’s stilettos on Neighbours, tuning the whine of an on-screen air conditioning unit, or creating the sound effects for an advertisement for Twisties chips. In his off time, Hunt put his interest in sound to work on a more grassroots level, having played in the Australian/German post-punk group Bring Philip throughout the late-1980s, alongside the classical violist Brett Dean in their experimental duo Frame Cut Frame, and composing scores and sound design for Sydney’s burgeoning Super 8 movement and queer cabaret subculture. This foray into introducing sound-based practices to a protest space served as a precursor to another action some eight years later whereby Hunt came to national prominence for again rearranging the words of another controversial political figure.
Simon Hunt, Fred Nile cutup (1988), https://soundcloud.com/simon666-1/fred-nile-cutup-1988. ↩
It’s worth noting that while Hunt was not successful in altering the soundtrack to Nile’s speech, the photographer Jamie Dunbar briefly did through considerably more direct means. Assigned as a photographer of the event for the Sydney Star Observer, Dunbar grew so incensed with Nile’s rhetoric that he grabbed hold of the microphone and chanted, ‘Go to hell Fred, gay love is best!’ before being bundled off the stage by the police. My account of the Cleansing March and the activities that surrounded it is drawn from my conversation with Simon Hunt, as well as archival Super 8 footage shot by the filmmaker Stephen Cummins and copies of the evening news coverage of the event. Interview with Simon Hunt, 23 March 2022; ‘Fred Nile Oxford St March, Oct 2, 1989, Super 8 Footage,’ originally shot by Stephen Cummins with Hunt’s Nile cut-up backing, 13 July 2022, https://youtu.be/m3ARkTQpUfo; “Sydney 1989 – Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras , Christian protest march led by Rev. Fred Nile,” archival footage with sound, https://youtu.be/CQ7S5b3LAK8; ‘Fred Nile anti-gay march on Oxford St, Sydney October 1989,’ news coverage, https://youtu.be/ktqX3DiNGZc. ↩
For those who had tuned their radios to Triple J on 21 August 1997, one track that was played would have sat strangely against the post-grunge alternative rock backdrop that dominated the airwaves at the time. It opened with a thud and a pop; a skittering funk bassline taken from Patrice Rushen’s iconic disco classic, ‘Forget Me Nots’. But the rhythmic push and pull of its infectious groove had been chopped up and clipped directly to the beat, giving it a mechanical and robotic quality. Voices chime in, but again, this is not Rushen’s breathy hook drifting in as expected, but a male chorus line chanting: I’m as worried as can be, Pauline! I wonder what the end will be, Pauline! As the chorus line exits stage, a woman’s voice enters the fray. This is a voice with a peculiar grain. All at once it exudes a steely confidence as it announces itself while also maintaining a quiver of confusion as though the voice is uncertain as to how they found themselves featured on the track. She warbles the line: Yes! Here I am! I find this very hard, but I look at it this way… The beat stops for the briefest of pauses before the voice offers a revelation — I’m a back door man — and the backing track returns.
Over a shifting array of funk and disco samples, the voice delivers a surreal political speech for the ages, replete with puns, non-sequiturs, and double entendres. She tells us that she’s a homosexual, that she’s not human, that she’s a very caring potato, and that she’s a back door man for the Ku Klux Klan. She calls for a homosexual government, for others to Come out, be one of us. She tells us that while she likes trees, shrubs, and plants, she’s erected a fence to keep them out. She lays down the law, imploring that a gentleman came up and told me, he said that other people don’t receive! They’ve gotta accept it here inside or I’m sayin’ that they up and leave!
As the track plays out, it becomes clearer to the listener that the talk-singing voice is in fact that of politician Pauline Hanson. A former fish and chip shop owner who had been drawn into local Ipswich politics, she found herself voted into the House of Representatives in 1996 as an independent for the seat of Oxley following an extraordinary swing in her favour. On the campaign trail, Hanson was something of a sideshow. Beginning as a Liberal candidate, she was sensationally disendorsed by party leader (and eventual Prime Minister) John Howard, after a racist letter she had penned to the Queensland Times regarding Black deaths in custody resurfaced. However, her seemingly against-the-odds win in the election brought with it a shocking legitimisation of her far-right ideology. As the political journalist Margo Kingston so aptly put it, watching Hanson’s infamous maiden speech was akin to seeing that ‘an alien had entered the citadel’.1 Spouting her purportedly populist politics for television, radio, and newspaper audiences, she tapped into, voiced, and stoked many of the racist, xenophobic, sexist, and homophobic attitudes that coursed through Australia. Yet, she also attempted to dodge all accusations of the above. She would bait journalists into asking a question about her ideas on race, before stating that she was just speaking for the amorphous constituency of ‘Mainstream Australia’ in calling for a so-called ‘equality’ in how government funding was distributed.
Margo Kingston, Off The Rails: The Pauline Hanson Trip (Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin, 2001), xxv. ↩
Hearing this track for the first time brought with it an uncanny novelty. Here were Hanson’s words, in her voice, but arranged in a manner that seemed to undermine her political ideology. The back announcement would probably have informed the listener that what they heard was ‘(I’m A) Back Door Man’, the debut song by a different Pauline, a drag queen who was due to perform at an upcoming party at the Metro Theatre in Sydney under the moniker of Pauline Pantsdown. This first public airing was intended to be a promotional bit for the event, the kind that would garner a few laughs and sell a few more tickets. But following its first play, the song snowballed into a cultural and political phenomenon.
‘(I’m A) Back Door Man’ never received an official release per se. There was no record label backing, no distribution deal, not even a commercially available physical copy of the single. Rather, it circulated through a constant stream of call-in requests and plays on Triple J, which some listeners taped to audio cassette, duplicated, and shared. Even without a tape recorder, the catchiness of the track made it stick in one’s head for days afterwards. It was an earworm despite the relatively monotonous drawl of Hanson’s voice. However, it was the use of this voice that ultimately got the track taken off air. After only a few days, Hanson and her lawyers initiated legal action over the supposedly misleading content of the track. Despite the general absurdity of the lyrics and numerous disclaimers before and after each play, Hanson’s lawyers claimed that listeners would actually believe what was being said; that is, that she was a homosexual, involved in ‘unnatural sexual practices,’ and associated with the Ku Klux Klan.1
Rather than going after Pantsdown for defamation, Hanson’s lawyers turned their focus to Triple J. In retaliation, the station added the track on even higher rotation before it was eventually banned from the air when a court injunction was filed. However, this attack was a thinly veiled swipe at the media as a whole; an entity that Hanson had a love-hate relationship with. Media outlets offered the airtime for her populist posturing, but also regularly challenged the outlandish and offensive stances that she took on particular issues. By focusing attention on the role of the station — the youth broadcast wing of the government funded Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC) — Hanson was able to place herself in the position of the victim, bullied by the national broadcaster.
Court of Appeal Judgement, Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Pauline Hanson, 28 September 1998. ↩
While the chorus line at the beginning of ‘(I’m A) Back Door Man’ had wondered what the end would be for Pauline, it was not here. In September 1998, Simon Hunt was outed by a journalist for The Sun-Herald as the musician behind the track. But this revelation did not affect the growing popularity of the persona. In the two years that followed, Pauline Pantsdown became a media celebrity of her own, entering into the same media and political arena as the other Pauline. Following the court injunction, the single polled in fifth place in that year’s Triple J Hottest 100 listener’s poll. In the wake of this success, she released another single in 1998 titled, ‘I Don’t Like It,’ that again transformed Hanson’s voice into a pop hit. To accompany it, a CD was produced and a video clip was shot with Pantsdown working in a fish and chip shop and wheeled through grocery aisles in a shopping trolley. She made numerous television appearances in her red wig, garish makeup, and power suits, from the couches of the Today morning show with Tracey Grimshaw to co-hosting the Channel 10 program Ground Zero with members of the one-hit-wonder group Steps. Elsewhere, she had the natural ability to move fluidly between and tie together worlds of popular culture and politics, delivering cutting remarks at political rallies or cutting moves on the stages of music festivals such as Homebake. It all culminated in a run for the senate in the 1998 election, with a whirlwind campaign through the suburbs of Sydney. On election day, the name Pauline Pantsdown appeared on the NSW senate ballot as an independent up against Hanson’s right-hand man, David Oldfield. Although Pantsdown’s campaign was not electorally successful, neither was Hanson’s. The night culminated in a performance to close the annual Sleaze Ball, which ended with the announcement of Hanson’s loss and a larger-than-life sculpture of her head exploding across the stage.
Over twenty-five years on from the track’s debut on Triple J, Pantsdown has been discussed in terms of popular music and politics, conceptualised as an ‘electoral guerrilla’ that infiltrated and satirised the political system, perceived as a prankster, and then written off as a throwback 1990s one hit wonder.1 Pauline Pantsdown moved beyond typical forms of satire in multiple ways. Rather than being a product of the media and entertainment industry, Hunt’s project forced its way into this realm by utilising the detritus of the industry itself. He appropriated sound bites, scrambled syntax, and set it to music in a manner that wove its way back into the fabric of popular media.
L M Bogad, Electoral Guerrilla Theatre: Radical ridicule and social movements (London: Routledge, 2005); Jon Stratton, ‘I Don’t Like It: Pauline Pantsdown and the Politics of the Inauthentic,’ Perfect Beat 4, no. 4 (January 2000), 3-28); Ben Hightower, Scott East, and Simon Hunt, ‘Pranks In Contentious Politics: An Interview with Pauline Pantsdown (AKA Simon Hunt),’ Contention 7, 1 (Summer 2019), 81-100. ↩
Although she held a seat within the parliament, Hanson’s purportedly populist politics saw her constantly differentiate herself from her colleagues. In her infamous maiden speech, she promised to bring ‘common sense’ to her role and stick up to the ‘fat cats, bureaucrats, and the do-gooders’ who promoted multiculturalism — particularly those who labelled her a racist for merely calling for ‘equality’.1 She arrived in the House of Representatives in the wake of the collapse of Prime Minister Paul Keating’s Labor government, and in many ways, Hanson could be understood as the anti-Keating, not just in approach to policy, but also in their media presence. Where the former Prime Minister was characterised by his quick wit, acerbic tongue, and unashamed flaunting of European opulence (especially in his interior design choices), Hanson presented herself to the public as the opposite. However, this opposition was largely a construction. As the political journalist David Marr has pointed out, in reality, Hanson owned a large farm property, built her own house upon it, ran Arabian mares, and sent her son to a private school.2 This was a lifestyle that was closer to that of Keating’s than the working-class constituency that she attempted to garner. The Hanson that came to be known by the public was not a reality, but a constructed image.
At the centre of this image was her voice; what her political adviser and right-hand man David Oldfield remarked was ‘her trademark’.3 Here was someone who did not speak with the sandstone university polish of the bulk of the white men who filled the seats of parliament but spoke in the manner that was familiar to a constituency alienated by the perceived correctness of most ministers. More importantly, it was a political and media tool that she deftly wielded. With what felt like just the flick of a switch, Hanson could pivot from steely recalcitrant defiance to quivering victimhood. Yet such a voice was one that did not always communicate so clearly. In speaking, Hanson was prone to tripping over her tongue, tying herself up in knots, and veering off topic. She bumbled her way through press conferences, muddled her syntax, and evaded any sort of responsibility for the comments she had made. Journalist and chronicler of the Hanson phenomenon, Margo Kingston, described it as Hanson’s ‘grammatically tortured, earthy rhetoric’.4 In one sense, this inability to clearly communicate her ideas and policies was not particularly needed, considering so many of them were half-baked and hardly coherent to begin with. But this ‘earthy rhetoric’ resonated with her attempts to come across as an approachable everywoman and allowed her to evade responsibility for the political messaging that did manage to seep through. It was the tone of her voice that was more important in conveying this message than what was actually said.
In appropriating Hanson’s voice, Hunt picked apart her clumsy expression and reconstituted it into something else. Rather than attacking her on the basis of her ideas, Hunt took Hanson’s trademark speech patterns and ramped them up into utter nonsense. Like the Fred Nile tape in 1989, Hunt had begun collecting audio of Hanson, recording television interviews, news reports, and speeches to VHS tapes. These were digitised, transcribed, and then chopped up in ProTools, before being set to a beat. Take for example this sequence from Hanson’s infamous 60 Minutes interview with the journalist Tracey Curro:5
‘Pauline Hanson’s 1996 maiden speech to parliament: Full transcript,’ The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 September 2016, https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/pauline-hansons-1996-maiden-speech-to-parliament-full-transcript-20160915-grgjv3.html. ↩
David Marr, ‘The White Queen: One Nation and The Politics of Race,’ Quarterly Essay 65 (2017), 20. ↩
Emma-Kate Symons and Grace Nicholas, ‘Hanson Won’t Take The Rap,’ The Daily Telegraph (27 August 1997), 13. ↩
Kingston, Off The Rails, xxv. ↩
‘Pauline Hanson infamous 1996 interview | 60 Minutes Australia,’ 14 March 1996, https://youtu.be/rU5mt7oAqH0. ↩
I’d like to find out just what your views are on a range of issues […] Welfare payments to single mothers?Pauline Hanson
I look at it this way, why should the government support single mothers with their first, second, and third child…
Are you xenophobic?PH
Xenophobia means a fear of all things foreign.PH
No, I don’t think I am. No, I’m not, is there a problem? Just because I might be… I find this very hard because I have to sort of clarify all my, what I think and how I feel about things.TC
Throughout this portion of the interview, Curro tries to pick apart Hanson’s policies through her direct and pointed line of questioning. In certain moments, Hanson seems uncomfortable while she giggles and squirms around issues, but ultimately, we are none the wiser after hearing her speak. Hunt recognised that to try to pick apart Hanson’s ideology would be futile. But in skilfully appropriating and editing her voice, Hunt could rearrange the rhetoric to ramp up the absurdity. This segment was reconstituted as the opening lines of ‘(I’m A) Back Door Man,’ I find this very hard, but I look at it this way, and later, the psychedelic Please explain coda of the track. In Hunt’s hands, Hanson’s words became an array of puns, non sequiturs, and double entendres. The chorus hook of the song — I’m a back door man — is both a winking suggestion at anal sex and to the history of blues music. Where to be a back door man was to be an adulterer; often a Black man who slept with a married white woman before ducking out the backdoor of the house as the husband got home.1 In the 1960s and 1970s, the trope was appropriated by white rock musicians such as The Doors and Led Zeppelin who turned to the blues for inspiration. Other lines, such as, I am a very caring potato, were themselves nonsensical, just like Hanson’s own utterances. What is left is a track that draws attention to the haphazard nature of Hanson’s own rhetoric. As with her namesake, the power of Pantsdown’s song rested in the slipperiness of interpretation.
This was a tactic that Hunt notes shared some similarities with the work of Berlin cabaret artists during the later years of the Weimar Republic. German cities between the end of World War I and the onset of the Great Depression saw a particularly fruitful period for artistic and sexual experimentation. It was a period that was of interest to Hunt, who during the first half of the 1990s, was writing a film script set around the cabaret clubs of the era. Within these clubs, artists would write and perform irreverent routines and revues that drew upon popular culture in order to lambast all political positions and challenge sexual mores.
McKenzie Wark, Celebrities, Culture and Cyberspace: The Light on the Hill in a Postmodern World (Annandale: Pluto Press, 1999), 249. For lyric examples of tracks, see: Paul Oliver, Blues Fell This Morning: Meaning and the Blues (New York: Cambridge, 1990), 86-88, 104. ↩
The rise of the Nazis in the early 1930s brought with it a certain trepidation surrounding the effectiveness of these forms of political satire in challenging the mounting tide of fascism and anti-Semitism. In his account of cabaret during this period, the historian Peter Jelavich maps out the debates that took place among writers and performers in response to this anxiety. In one instance, he recounts how one of the leading writers and club operators of the Berlin cabaret world, Kurt Robitschek, had lamented in a newspaper article how Hitler’s rhetoric was so outlandish that it was impossible to satirise. As Jelavich tells it, ‘Weimar satirists could highlight the logical inconsistencies of Hitler’s thought, but that was irrelevant to Nazi voters, for whom logic was not a virtue’. 1 What was mobilising the public was the show that the Nazis put on; a colourful and theatrical spectacle that moved beyond rhetoric and tapped into pure emotion. Robitschek argued that the real failure of the republic was a failure in stage direction; that ‘they are not theatrical enough. The décor is miserable, serious, and artificial. Too little colour, not enough silk, not enough use of the revolving stage […] If you use irony to pounce on Hitler, in case one of his theses collapses, then you have forgotten: his revolving stage is rolling’.2
Like the Weimar cabaret artists, it became clear to Hunt that addressing Hanson on her own terms would be a fruitless endeavour. The old activist cliché calling for all to ‘speak truth to power’ was futile in the face of such nonsensical and harmful rhetoric. Rather, the more effective means was to speak nonsense to power, or alternatively, to make power speak nonsense. The actual substance of Hanson’s rhetoric was forever shifting and not grounded in any real understanding of the world. To try to prove her wrong or misleading was a relatively easy task but not particularly effective in challenging her standing within the media and the public at large; her stage revolved too. Rather, Hunt attempted to erode the Hanson phenomena by appropriating the only stable part of her character — her image — by creating a show that itself could cross over onto the stage of the mass media.
Earlier in 1997, Hanson was not at the forefront of Hunt’s mind as a satirical subject. As a casual tutor in Film/Video Sound at the College of Fine Arts (COFA) on Oxford Street, Hunt had to stay abreast of technological developments as they were introduced by the university. He had seen the radical shift in sound editing during the 1980s, from the block and razor splicing of magnetic tape, to the introduction and increasing affordability of audio samplers, and eventually the introduction of Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software. As consumer grade computers became more powerful, DAWs allowed for sounds to be sampled, cut-up, rearranged, multi tracked, and set to a beat all in one place. With the rollout of ProTools software in late 1996, he spent the summer break learning the program more thoroughly before having to teach it. In a way, Pauline Pantsdown was born out of technical necessity; a humorous project to work on as he prepared for the semester ahead.
As these phrases were painstakingly crafted into lyrics in ProTools, Pauline Pantsdown seemed to take on a life of its own. While Hanson’s voice just served as raw sound material for the taking, the more Hunt appropriated it, the clearer it became that a performance could possibly arise from the track. Hanson was a political character ripe for satire. With her shock of red hair, her bold power suits and make-up, and her swathe of catchphrases that often emerged from gaffs, she appeared as a political cartoon manifest. After he showed an early draft of the piece to his friend Tobin Saunders (notable Sydney-based drag queen Vanessa Wagner), it was suggested that this could serve as a soundtrack for a drag performance, with Hunt taking on the role of Pauline Pantsdown and Saunders playing her offsider.
Pauline Pantsdown made her first public appearance as part of Wagner’s ‘Melting Pot’ party at Sydney’s Metro Theatre in 1997. The routine took a considerably surreal turn in its send up of Hanson, nodding towards the Weimar era cabaret that Hunt was drawing upon. Based around the family politics that underpinned Hanson’s homespun persona, Wagner was to be the mother figure who was charged with protecting her queer family of mostly Black and Asian children from the spectre of Pantsdown. As the track begins, Hunt as Pantsdown appears on stage dressed in a red jacket and riding pants, throwing back to the stylistic fashion choices of the Nazis. To the beat of the track while lip syncing the lyrics, she attacks the family with a series of jerky dance movements before Wagner tears off Pantsdown’s wig, revealing a pair of antennae. Having been exposed as the alien she is, Pauline is swept away by a spaceship, with the soundtrack warping into a synth driven, sci-fi hash. As Pantsdown exited the stage, the DJ Ben Drayton continued the joke, following up the performance with Funkadelic’s futuristic psychedelic funk classic, ‘One Nation Under A Groove.’
Hunt’s performance at the Melting Pot that night had its roots in the world of queer cabaret performance that leant heavily upon the aesthetics and techniques of cut-up and appropriation. For a time, Hunt had lived with the editors of the infamous Wicked Women publication, widely considered the first lesbian S&M magazine in Australia catering to women that promised ‘hot, one-handed reading’.1 The magazine appealed to a diversity of audiences with an irreverent approach, publishing material that ranged from leather and S&M fantasies to an infamous photograph of a woman using a statue of the Virgin Mary to masturbate. Hunt’s involvement with these scenes was focused upon the audio-visual. The editors of Wicked Women staged a number of adjacent fundraising parties and events, including the annual Ms Wicked competition. This particular event involved performances that appropriated histories of stripping, cabaret, and drag, in surreal and camp ways. Hunt played a hand in sound tracking some of these performances with cut-up and superimposed compositions from found sound sources and popular music.
Hunt himself also co-created and performed in similar cabaret-esque events. In one such performance, entitled, Double Ohhh Double Five (1996), he satirises the narrow gender roles of telephone sex and dating services of the mid-1990s. Dressed as the ‘Straight Acting Bloke’ in full macho garb (flannel shirt, work boots, cut-off denim shorts replete with a prosthetic cock peeking out of the left leg) Hunt performed in a group drag routine, miming along to voice-overs and performing to a cut-up soundtrack that placed Herbie Hancock samples alongside the film scores of Bernard Herrmann. Performances such as these and the Ms Wicked competitions took an irreverent and cut-up heavy approach to cultural production and satire. These were scenes that posited a contemporary strain of Berlin cabaret, mixing the amateur and professional approaches to art making with political satire, experimentation with gender and sexual identities, and popular media forms.
The context of this scene of queer performance offers a particular approach to understanding the character of Pantsdown. Of course, some parallels can be drawn between Hunt’s embodiment of Hanson’s image and the history of drag queen performance; namely in the ways that Hunt lip synced along to the voice of Pantsdown and exaggerated the mannerisms of the politician to humorous effect. Yet it was this manipulation of sound that he drew from the world of underground cabaret that allowed him to flip the soundbite on its head. Not only did Hunt subvert the political message at the heart of Hanson’s bumblings, but he did so in a manner that fundamentally altered her relationship to the Australian public via the media.
It was during Hanson’s rapid rise that Hunt noticed a peculiar dynamic in the way that she was received in his social circles. He explains that many of his white friends expressed some level of embarrassment over her rhetoric, hoping that it would not reflect back upon them. However, for his Asian and Aboriginal friends who were the targets of Hanson’s attacks, her words undermined their very existence and livelihood within the country. When the Pantsdown track eventually crossed over into mass media popularity, many of these friends remarked that the music gave them an opportunity to ‘laugh back’ at her.2 To laugh back was to laugh up. That is, in playing with Hanson’s voice and rhetoric, Hunt’s song acted as a means of drawing attention to and dismantling the image of power and populism that she represented. But, this is only one part of the equation. These queer cabaret performances catered to a relatively small group of people within inner-city Sydney. It was through Hunt’s pragmatic musical choices and thinking towards radio play that the act spilled out beyond these underground scenes and even further than most satire was permitted.
Tim Alderman. “Gay History: The G.O.D. (Girls/Guys Of Disgrace) Gang,” 7 August 2017, https://timalderman.com/2017/08/07/gay-history-the-g-o-d-girlsguys-of-disgrace-gang/ ↩
Simon Hunt, ‘Pauline Pantsdown: Hanson’s success will be her undoing,’ The Guardian (4 September 2016) https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/04/pauline-pantsdown-hansons-success-will-be-her-undoing. ↩
Amidst the boom of mass media reporting and before the widespread ubiquity of the internet in the 1990s, a form of activism was in vogue that applied cut-up and appropriation tactics to the media of the day. Artists/activists utilised materials close to hand in humorous ways, such as the billboard alterations of anti-cigarette company activists BUGA UP in Australia from the mid-1980s onwards, or the controversy surrounding the Bay Area group Negativland’s 1991 sample-heavy EP ‘U2’, or the work of culture jammers such as the AdBusters and The KLF. In surveying a range of these artists/activists working in this vein during the second half of the twentieth century, the writers V Vale and A Juno liken the practice to that of the prank, surmising that, ‘At a single stroke a prank can dissect an intricate tissue of artifice, exposing a rigid behavioural structure underneath.’1 Hunt’s Pantsdown project certainly sat within this pantheon, cutting through the tissue of artifice that was Hanson’s public image. But at the same time, to successfully pull off the prank, it relied heavily upon situating Pantsdown and the song within this tissue of artifice; that is, by situating it among the popular culture and mass media that Hanson resided. While there are clearly similarities between Hunt’s approach and that of the culture jamming and prankster contemporaries of the early 1990s, this was an approach that he learnt from a group of underground film directors.
Prior to Pauline Pantsdown, Hunt was best known for his work in film, in particular the success of, Resonance (1991), a short he co-directed with his long-time collaborator Stephen Cummins.2 A complex exploration of queer and gendered politics shot in black and white that incorporated dance sequences and an immersive surround sound audio track, Resonance was one of Australia’s most decorated short films of the era. It received awards and commendations at the Sydney Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, the Turin Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, and was screened at over a hundred international festivals including those in Toronto, New York, and Sundance, where it landed Hunt and Cummins seats on the famous Barbed Wire Kisses panel at the 1992 iteration.
1991 had been a watershed year for independent queer filmmakers crossing over into industry recognition. Jennie Livingston’s landmark film on the New York ballroom scene, Paris Is Burning (1990) had shared the documentary Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, while Todd Haynes’ surreal weaving together of Jean Genet texts, Poison (1991), had shared the dramatic prize. In their wake, a panel was organised and co-moderated by the film critic B Ruby Rich alongside the Village Voice film editor Lisa Kennedy to bring together a veritable who’s who of contemporary queer cinema the following year. The panel was made up of the older guard of Derek Jarman and Isaac Julien, directors Tom Kalin and Todd Haynes, 18-year-old filmmaker Sadie Benning, and the two Australian representatives of Hunt and Cummins. In bringing these filmmakers together, Rich was not just highlighting a burgeoning scene of filmmakers exploring queerness within cinema, but also a group of filmmakers who adopted a loose set of similar practices.
Following the panel, Rich took the event as the basis for the movement she coined, New Queer Cinema. In an article for Sight and Sound, she unites them with a common style that she labels, Homo Pomo. Rich elaborated that, ‘there are traces in all of them of appropriation and pastiche, irony as well as a reworking of history with social constructionism very much in mind […] these works are irreverent, energetic, alternately minimalist and excessive’. 1 These were filmmakers who worked with little to no budget. Benning, for example, had created their short films on a Fisher-Price Pixelvision, editing the films in real time ‘in-camera’ on what was essentially marketed as a children’s toy. While some of the other filmmakers had more considerable funds for the films that appeared at Sundance, much of their work outside of these features also adopted the same low-fi aesthetics and practices.
For Hunt, one of the most important things to come from the Barbed Wire Kisses panel and the touring of Resonance was his connection to arts activists who were working within the New York collective, Gran Fury. Initially formed in 1988, Gran Fury was a group of artists, filmmakers, graphic designers, art directors, photographers, and architects who had all been involved in the New York chapter of the HIV/AIDS activist organisation, ACT UP.2 Featuring two members on the Barbed Wire Kisses panel — Tom Kalin as a permanent member and Todd Haynes as an occasional assistant on some projects — Gran Fury sought to utilise art world connections and practices in order to advocate and agitate around the fallout of the HIV/AIDS crisis. These were not works that were intended for closed artistic or community spaces but were rather intended to shift the popular discourse on a particular topic. The work they made could not be readily commodified, instead existing as temporary gallery installations, billboards, wheat pasted posters, performances, and t-shirts. Emerging from the commercial worlds of advertising, art, fashion, and media, Gran Fury has an irrelevant eye for icons and slogans that concisely captured the dire and urgent need for action. Hunt stresses the importance of this encounter with Kalin and Haynes and the influence that Gran Fury’s ethos and approach to appropriation had on the development of Pauline Pantsdown.
This influence is most evident in the way that Hunt pieced together the backing for ‘(I’m A) Back Door Man’. Just as Gran Fury’s work utilised the forms of advertising and art to insert itself into those worlds, Hunt drew upon the pop song in a similar manner. The track was stitched together from four disco, funk, and pop classics: Patrice Rushen’s ‘Forget Me Nots’ (1982), Cheryl Lynn’s ‘Got To Be Real’ (1978), Michael Jackson’s ‘Off The Wall’ (1979), and The Brothers Johnson’s ‘Stomp’ (1980). As an avid listener of funk and soul, these were recordings that Hunt readily had to hand at the time, but they were also songs that were embedded within the popular consciousness. The distinctive slap bassline and synth stabs of Rushen’s song had been extensively sampled in recent hits as George Michael’s ‘Fastlove’ (1996) and Will Smith’s ‘Men In Black’ (1997). Likewise, ‘Got To Be Real’ got a dancier update in 1993 with a cover version by Erik, with the original also featuring prominently in Livingstone’s Paris Is Burning, a nod to Hunt’s contemporaries in the worlds of queer cinema and performance.
Although these songs existed within recent memory, they were intentionally somewhat outdated. Hunt tells me that this was part of the plan. In order for ‘(I’m A) Back Door Man’ to receive rotation, he was not playing to the ears of a popular listenership, but rather to the generally older radio DJs who put together the playlists. In appealing to these ears, a kind of pop song form of passing was taking place. The content of the song was inherently political, but it made its way on air via relatively innocuous means, that is, as a pop song with a funk backing. Ironically, initial barriers to a commercial release were not the threats of possible defamation from Hanson, but rather, the difficulty of getting these samples cleared. At the urging of several major record labels, Hunt drafted another backing for the track of his own composition, however the injunction was put on the original before this version was finished.
Of course, this is just one thread of Hunt’s activist history and the story of Pauline Pantsdown more broadly. From campaigning for changes to censorship laws surrounding the representation of two men kissing on screen during the first half of the 1990s; through to other experiments with sound collage such as the 2000 cut-up single ‘I’m Sorry’ under the moniker of Little Johnny; the use and manipulation of media was always central to his approach. The Pantsdown moniker was retired in 2000 as it became clear that Hanson’s political relevance had waned. Far from outwardly rejecting Hanson on the basis of her far right ideology, the Australian media helped to rehabilitate her image during her period in the political wilderness, coming in a runner up on the 2004 season of Dancing With The Stars and appearing as a regular commentator on Channel 7’s popular Sunrise breakfast television program. Her return to the media spotlight and eventually to parliament demonstrated that the broader Australian public never entirely disregarded her racist and isolationist policies, and it brought with it the return of the Pauline Pantsdown moniker.
By the time of Hanson’s election to the Senate in 2016, the monolithic forms of mass and popular media that were present in the 1990s had fractured and flattened with the rise of social media. In response, Hunt resurrected Pauline Pantsdown as a Facebook and Twitter avatar. But where the construction of tracks such as ‘(I’m A) Back Door Man’ sought to insert themselves into the mass media narrative through skillful cut-up tactics and the humorous appropriation of Hanson’s words, these social media accounts took a more direct approach to a wider range of targets. In recent years, Hunt has used these platforms to mobilise online and in person campaigns against a range of high profile bigoted figures, from Lyle Shelton and the Australian Christian Lobby, through to transphobic political candidates such as Katherine Deves. Most recently Hunt organised a silent ribbon demonstration outside Sydney’s St. Mary’s Cathedral in the wake of George Pell’s death as a show of support for survivors of child sexual abuse. Although the tactics may have changed, the use of humour and skillful deployment of media in the public sphere still sit at the core of his approach.
B. Ruby Rich, “New Queer Cinema”, Sight and Sound (1 September 1992), 32. ↩
For a history of Gran Fury within the context of ACT UP New York, see Sarah Schulman, Let The Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993 (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021), 327-338. For an history of Gran Fury and an examination of their tactics, see Jack Lowery, It Was Vulgar & It Was Beautiful: How AIDS Activists Used Art To Fight A Pandemic (New York: Bold Type Books, 2022). ↩
Mitch L Ryan is a writer whose work explores histories of countercultures, music, media, and politics.
‘Poor Acoustics: Classed Vocalities’ is a collection of performance, video, poetry, and essays that foregrounds working class vocalities using un(common) sonic dissonance to foster sharp commentary and working class solidarity.
The writer would like to thank Simon Hunt, Douglas Kahn, James Hazel, Liang Luscombe, Casey (Nicholls-Bull) Jones, and Debris Facility.