On the Couch with Janet Carter

PICA Transmission Janet Carter - photo by Nicolee FoxWho is Janet Carter?
Good question. You’d think, after 5 decades, I’d know by now…

What would you do differently from what you do now?
Nothing. I took the long way around to becoming an artist, via the army, oil and gas exploration, theatre and events teching, and queer parties and parades. I’ve lived a really interesting life and met lots of amazing people along the way, so it feels like everything that came before has led me to where I am now. I can’t imagine doing anything else or being anyone else.

Who inspires you and why?
Broadly speaking, my big messy complex LGBTIQA+ family. Specifically, all the quiet, humble, unsung heroes of my community who got on with the business of making the world a better safer place for those that followed, simply because it needed to be done. I’m very honoured to be working with some of them at the moment in the creation of Transmission.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Exactly what I’m doing right now. Social justice been a lifelong project, mostly within feminism and queer activism, but also supporting refugee and Indigenous rights. Climate justice has recently been added to the list. I believe that arts and culture have a unique power to change the world, and I’m following that belief in both my life and my practice.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Anywhere that involves being with people I love, preferably away from the city and out of range of mobile towers.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
The beach! WA beaches are the best in the world, and there’s something really grounding for me about heading to the coast, having a swim and then eating fish and chips as the sun sets. I love sharing that with others.

What are you currently reading?
David France’s How to Survive a Plague (for the second or third time), Ann Cvetkovich’s An Archive of Feeling: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures, Yvonne Kapp’s Eleanor Marx: A Biography and Rosie Waterland’s Every Lie I’ve Ever Told.

What are you currently listening to?
ABC RN. I like to have podcasts or the radio playing while I’m working, so I’ve got RN burbling away in the background, but I couldn’t tell you which program I’m listening to.

Happiness is?
Converting my back yard from a sandpit to a garden; making and sharing food with good friends; streaming/binge watching trashy TV; reading…

What does the future hold for you?
More of the same, I hope!

Janet has created and performs (with special guests) Transmission at Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) on Saturday 25 January as part of the 2020 FRINGE WORLD program. For more information, visit: www.pica.org.au for details.

Image: Janet Carter – photo by Nicolee Fox