Sunday 1 May 2011

Artist Interview: Nicola Morton on award of Asialink Grant

Edited by Kim Hirst for NAVA Opportunities E-Bulletin April 2011

Who got the opportunity? Asialink Arts Residency

Printer-friendly versionSend to friendPDF versionAfter seeing the Asialink Arts Residency advertised on the NAVA Notice Board, artist Nicola Morton applied and was awarded $12,000 to cover the cost of travelling to and living in Indonesia for three months.
The Asialink Arts Residency aims to promote the professional development of Australian arts practitioners as well as cultural exchange initiatives between Australia and Asia. The residency is funded by the Australia Indonesia Institute and Arts Queensland and is part of a program managed by the Asialink Centre at the University of Melbourne.
As an artist of half Chinese heritage, Nicola has worked internationally in the musical and contemporary art worlds. The Asialink residency will enable her to add Javanese ketainan (traditional animistic rituals) to her performance repertoire of time travel, hypnosis and artificial intelligence creation.
NAVA asked Nicola to tell us what she hopes to get out of the experience.

NAVA: Why did you decide to apply for the Asialink Arts Residency?
Nicola Morton: The Asialink Residency is a unique opportunity to absorb Asian culture with your contemporary art goggles on. The open approach to residency structure, combined with committed host organisations provides for an enthusiastic free-for-all, which for me, dovetails very nicely into documenting my performance energies and practice in this new Asian environment.
NAVA: What interested you about the project?
NM: I am half experienced in Asia - I am half Chinese and have toured China and Japan but never had time for an immersive exchange. As a contemporary Australian artist, the desire to place myself within Asia has started emerging through themes in my work. I am interested in the ritual involved in traditional performing arts and this three month residency will give me the time to investigate and recontextualise the supernatural nature of Javanese performance, as well as the effects of urbanisation on village practices. 
NAVA: How does the residency compliment your artistic practice?
NM: This residency allows for site-specific work and cultural research. As you can see from my website, my performances concentrate on self-improvement, self-awareness and transformation. These ideas are also central to the narratives and performance of Javanese plays/dance. The meeting of my performance practice and Javanese tradition will culminate in new products/performances that will hopefully educate and enlighten the Australian contemporary art scene as well as locals and artists in Indonesia. Enlightenment = Everyone Happy = My Artistic Practice.
NAVA: What do you hope to get out of the experience?
NM: I hope to get three months of good times, unique learning experiences and performance footage in strange and not so strange locations.
NAVA: What do you have coming up next? 
NM: After Asialink I am looking for opportunities to exhibit and expand on my Javanese performing arts learning and will continue with the concept of cultural displacement. Any potential sponsors are welcome to contact me:

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