On the Couch with Jeff Khan

Jeff-Khan-photo-by-Liz-HamWho is Jeff Khan?
I’m a curator and writer, and I’m the Artistic Director of Performance Space. I live and work on Gadigal Country in Sydney, and I work across artforms, from contemporary performance to visual art, dance, sound and beyond. I’m also a burgeoning plant dad, avid hiker, committed beach lounger and lover of queer dance parties.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
Worry less. Spend more time outside. Learn how to be a better cook. Snack more regularly to reduce hunger.

Who inspires you and why?
Artists constantly inspire me. Their visionary way of thinking and making, and their relentless search for better versions of this world.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Art makes a difference in the world: it brings us together to discuss and debate our values, and enables us to imagine a different future. So what I’m committed to is supporting the creation of the bravest, most visionary, transformative, challenging and inspiring work possible.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Taiwan – because the food, the people, the cities and the landscape are all gorgeous. Or road tripping through the USA because the natural beauty is astonishing and each state is like a different country – the local cultures are so distinct and diverse.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
An all-day hike in Ku-ring-gai Chase or Royal National Park to soak up the stunning nature that’s all around Sydney. Followed by dinner and cocktails at an inner-city restaurant or bar… there are so many great ones to choose from. Of course, the night would end on the dancefloor (once dancefloors become possible again).

What are you currently reading?
I just finished Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell and just started Cleanness by Garth Greenwell. Both of these novels are windows into another place and time, and that seems important in a year we’ve all been grounded and our worlds have become necessarily smaller.

What are you currently listening to?
The new Sufjan Stevens album, Sydney indie singer Huck Hastings, and I’m rediscovering PJ Harvey’s classic album Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. When I need a bit of uplift I dance around the lounge room to Kylie’s new song Magic and the fab new queer pop album by Bright Light, Bright Light. And when I need to focus on banging out some work and meeting crunchy deadlines I have ambient music on high rotation… from Brian Eno classics to new stuff by Bee Mask.

Happiness is?
Unstructured time. My very favourite is spending all day at the beach, soaking up the sun and letting my mind wander all over the place.

What does the future hold for you?
More love. More art. More togetherness. Maybe a holiday once Liveworks is over.

Jeff is the Artistic Director of Performance Space – who will present Liveworks – Festival of Experimental Art at Carriageworks and online from 21 – 25 October 2020. For more information, and full program, visit: www.performancespace.com.au for details.

Image: Jeff Khan – photo by Liz Ham