My audio piece for Powerhouse Museum’s Oscillations project is finally out! It’s a chewy little story about sino/trans inscrutability, visibility and representation. Massive thanks to sound and story wizard Jon Tjhia, and everyone whose voices and ideas are part of this work: Atong Atem, Oliver Reeson, Kate Bagnall and Tim Sherratt, and my glorious chorus. So proud of this. Listen here.
Here are some other local history and place-inspired art projects to check out.
Sun 27 Mar, 2 – 3:30pm
Artist Roberta Joy Rich’s exhibition The Purple Shall Govern explores the resilience of people during Apartheid-era South Africa, alongside those living on the unceded sovereign lands of Australia. As part of the exhibition program, you can join the artist and Elders Uncle Larry Walsh and N’arweet Dr Carolyn Briggs AM as they guide you through the rich landscape of Kulin Country along the Maribyrnong river banks. More info and bookings here.
Thu 20 Jan, Wed 16 Feb and Fri 4 Mar 2022
Artist Hoang Tran Nguyen presents these participatory karaoke performances as part of his ongoing series, Labour. With a list of songs that are themed and or titled in relation to work, working and workers, the repertoire spans trade union songs to pop music, and includes tracks in both English and Vietnamese. The sites are also all connected to histories of labour – the ANA Building, University Square, and the Westgate Bridge. Register here.
Check out Hoang’s past work too, or you can read about it in Liminal or in this incredible essay by Scott Brook for Meanjin, ‘Footscray, for example‘ – I think Underfoot listeners will really appreciate it!
Wander the Wood is a self-guided walking tour through the flats of one of Melbourne’s most well worn neighbourhoods, starting from the iconic Smith and Stanley Street corner in Collingwood. As you walk the grounds of the public housing estate, listen to stories of the area’s creative history and hear about its residents’ talents and journeys. Created by Izzy Brown, Joshua Tavares, Mini Miller and Viv Malo with producer Annaliese Redlich, as part of Rising festival.
Created by Bec Fary on Boonwurrung and Woiwurrung lands in Footscray, this durational listening experience is algorithmic and shifts through the night, and day to day. You’re invited to come and go as you please, whether you choose to forefront these listenings or use them as background soundtracks.
A blog and now book by Nick Gadd based on a series of walks he and his late wife Lynne took around Melbourne’s suburbs, forming a circle around the city. Gadd says, ‘The walks are an experiment in psychogeography – which I define as an attempt to understand a place by experiencing it at close range, and seeking to make a connection with the lives and the stories embedded in the place.’
Please add your suggestions in the comments! I know I had a couple of other things bookmarked that I can’t find anymore.
I made a short podcast about Melbourne’s Chinatown for The Hearts of the People are Measured by the Size of the Land, an exhibition curated by Olivia Koh (Recess) for Rising.
Sadly the festival is paused while Melbourne goes into its fourth lockdown so I’m not sure whether you’ll be able to see the exhibition currently, even the outdoor projections, but you can listen to the podcast in the meantime. Hoping events just get rescheduled.
In this podcast, Jinghua Qian offers a broken, bite-sized history of Chinatown and its role as the epicentre of a fractured and evolving community.
Nikki Lam, ‘Anchor and a Loose Thread 錨，和懸絲’, two-channel video installation, 2019. Sound design: Supina Bytol and Conor O’Hanlon.
Jay-Dea Lopez, ‘Chinatown, Melbourne’, Sounds Like Noise, 8 October 2011.
Peter Luck, ‘Chinese Australians ambivalent about revolution | RetroFocus’, ABC, 1969. (Accessed via YouTube.)
Cantonese with Brittany, ‘Cantonese vs. Taishanese (ft. Inspirlang)’, YouTube, 30 January 2021.
Inspirlang, ‘Taishanese Tones and Pronunciations (a complete guide to learn how to speak 台山話/Toisan/Hoisanwa)’, YouTube, 30 January 2021.
Nahuatl Tlahtocan, ‘Episode 2: A Linguistic History of Nahuatl’, YouTube, 20 June 2020.
Jess Ho, ‘The End of Chinatown’, 7am, 4 May 2021.
Daniel Keane, ‘Protesters call for wage theft crackdown in Adelaide’s Chinatown following alleged assault’, ABC, 6 February 2021.
Jinghua Qian, ‘Chinatown: Melbourne’, Culture Trip, 29 June 2020.
Jinghua Qian, ‘Yellow peril isn’t what it used to be’, Meanjin, Summer 2019/2020.
Liam Ward, ‘Radical Chinese labour in Australian history’, Marxist Left Review, No. 10 Winter 2015.
Jinghua Qian, ‘Things and their makers: from “European labour only” to “ethical consumerism”’, Right Now, 8 September 2015.
Full references available on request.
Finally it’s launch day!
Underfoot presents four virtual audio tours through Footscray’s past. Liz and I bring an intimate lens to local history as we wander the streets and the archives looking for people like us: queers, migrants, radicals and artists. There are some big conversations about capitalism, nationalism and settler nativism, as well as some finely aged gossip.
Each track comes with a map, transcript, photos and notes so you can either explore these places in real life (observing social distancing!) or just enjoy the stories while staying home. You can even dive into some historical research yourself if you’re so inclined.