The QSS-Blog team had a chat to Julie Vulcan, Associate Director of PACT centre for emerging artists, a multidisciplinary artist in her own right, and a current Performing Arts Resident here at Queen Street Studio…
You’re undertaking a part time residency at Queen Street Studio… what are you planning to work on during your time here? Is it a new project or a development of something we might have seen before?
Hi Julia, I am working on a completely new project called ‘I remember this city’. It is at its very early stages which always fills me with excitement and trepidation at the same time. A feeling I do love, as an artist, giving over and trusting your process. The work is looking at the intersections between cities.
I am interested in how we imagine and inhabit our cities and the points at which they blend.
The fantastic thing about this for me is that I have two remote collaborators — one in Nottingham (UK) and one in Berlin (DL). So between us we are covering huge ground in relation to this idea of ‘the city.’ My collaborators, Traci and Richard, are a UK live art duo whose practice is quite visceral and explores the experiential embodiment of ideas. Combined with my work — where conceptually I often place myself as a conduit for my audience — I think we have a really amazing foundation to extend from.
When might we see this work… is it destined for a particular stage or place?
This is always tricky because my work is generally site-specific or durational. What we are hoping for is for it to be represented at various Live Art events both here and O/S. Here, it is always unpredictable as there are few opportunities for this type of work. However, there are little events popping up all the time. Often I end up finding a site or a place and staging it myself. These become pretty special events even though they don’t have a mass audience, they have a solid audience.
The ones that do come, end up being part of something that is very unique and will never happen quite like that again. There is an awareness around this, so I think that those that get involved or come as spectators, take away an experience where they feel quite special.
There is often a feeling that something has been exchanged, not just witnessed. It is personal. So keep your ear to the ground!
In your bio you identify a “commitment to research based and self devised practice”… you’ve had one day in the studio as part of your residency now. Where did you start and how will you continue your research for this project?
I came into the space with a set of performative and experiential tasks that I had collated in response to my reading and my discussions with Traci and Richard. I use a small video camera and my phone as recording devices to note down ideas and responses as I go along. Some of my tasks involved listening intently to the noises around me filtering in from outside and allowing myself to create narratives of what was taking place. I must admit, one of the things that I was thrilled about when I got this residency was the fact that FraserStudios is obviously right next to their huge building development site… you can’t get more city than that — it’s one of the common denominators.
So from the work I did on Monday, I now have 3 weeks before I am back again, so this gives me time to percolate what came out of this and continue my dialogue with Traci and Richard. When I come back I will have a whole new set of investigations building on what has gone before.
You’re currently the Associate Director at PACT. What do you like (or not like!) about working with emerging artists?
It is so funny talking about emerging artists because 20 years on, I often still feel like one myself! I think this is because as an artist, you are always exploring, teasing out ideas and challenging yourself in new territories. However,
what I love about emerging artists is their enthusiasm, engagement and energy.
They are hungry and they want to know more, they want to talk and investigate. Plus they want to have fun doing it. This energy is fantastic to be around and inspiring. I also love the insecurity and reserve that is folded in there as well because this is also about possibility. I get a lot of satisfaction from helping emerging artists unlock their potential and own their creative power. I don’t mean this in a patronising way but rather that I can observe strengths and help them see that they have something amazing and unique. I can offer suggestions on how they can build on this in practical and creative ways and encourage their vision. I relate to them more as peers.
What’s the best thing about being an artist in Sydney? What’s the worst thing?
The best thing is there is always something innovative going on somewhere.
People underestimate Sydney because we seem to be always struggling for venues and spaces but I think this makes us more resilient and less complacent.
It also means that artists are constantly cooking up new approaches and improvised ways of presenting their work. I love this and despite how hard it can be, I would prefer the vibrancy and innovation to stagnation. Sydney has always had a great community around experimental performance work and there is a real generosity amongst artists — emerging and established — to support this.
The worst thing… well it is the old catch-cry of Sydney rents which makes the cost of living harder for artists… need I say more?
All images are courtesy of the artist’s own website — click here to visit the website and find out more about Julie, her practice and her previous work!
To find out more about PACT (including the upcoming Tiny Stadiums Festival in Erskineville) click here!