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– Thursday's 'Workout' artist is...

Posted on April 24, 2013 in Curatorial.

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Jodie Whalen
I Love You. I Do. 2011
performance, Damien Minton Annex, Sydney, 2011
Image courtesy and © the artist
Photograph: David Capra

JODIE WHALEN

How would you describe your performance in Workout?

Totally controlled mundane madness, much like any day working a job. I’ve taken the structure and essence of what it is to work a 9-to-5, 7-days-a-week job and combined that with what viewers would not necessarily see as part of an artist’s job. In reality and in the work they have become very much the same, so much so that the lines between performance and 'reality’, viewer and audience are almost wiped clean, offering a totally new experience.

In what ways is your performance a work out?

I will be performing for roughly nine hours straight, with direct contact with the viewers throughout. The performance is based on conversation – if a viewer engages with me during the performance, I cannot stop talking, so I expect to be talking for nine hours straight. Also the conversations are structured around a few rules that in many ways limit where they can go. The main rule is that I can only talk about myself in relation to my arts practice and the work (Day Job/ After Work Drinks). This deliberate repetition is a mostly mental work out.

How do you envisage the audience engaging with your work? Is there audience participation?

Yes there is audience interaction, the whole performance is built around audience interaction in the hope of breaking down the relationship between the work, the artist and the viewer. I want the audience to really engage with the one-on-one interaction with the artist (me). I envisage people lining up in my waiting room to sit and have a meeting with me. I hope that what we discuss opens up a dialogue for further thought on the way in which modern society is constructed around a lifetime of employment.

How do you approach transforming the MCA’s new Level 1 North Gallery in one day?

My approach is in keeping with the rest of my practice, very minimal. My work is all about the actions and the performance so I do not usually employ many props. That said, Day Job is a little different in that I really aim to blur the lines between what is real and what is staged. The space has to be transformed ever so slightly so that the audience can experience both the feeling of a gallery space and a very generic and practical office environment. The performance takes place in a staged environment in a very small section of the gallery, allowing the viewers to experience the set from all angles. The performance space also becomes an installation in the gallery space.

Will you have an online presence allowing the audience outside the Museum to follow your performance?

No, because this work only exists when it is being performed. It is between me and the viewer in the space. Conceptually this is really important and it is made clear for the viewers when they are sat in a meeting with me.

How can people find out more about you?

Recent past group exhibitions have been The Social at Campbelltown Arts Centre and On Side at Casula Powerhouse both in 2013.

Das PLatforms Emerging and Contemporary Art website (dasplatforms.com) has an article and a video interview here and here

Arts Hub (au.artshub.com) has an interview here

There is also a video interview on the SafARI 2012 website

Lastly if you garb yourself the latest issue of Art Collector (issue 64, April-June 2013), writer Carrie Miller was kind enough to write about me in an article on undiscovered artists.

Jodie Whalen’s performance runs Thursday 25 April 2013 from 10am to 5pm in the MCA’s Level 1 North Gallery.

For more on Workout, visit the webpage

Posted by Kelly Stone

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Jodie Whalen
Making art dreams a reality through an educational tour 2013
Performance still, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown, 2013
Image courtesy and © the artist
Photograph: Jasmine Kean