On the Couch with Joel Zika

Joel-Zika-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Joel Zika?
Joel is an artist from Melbourne, obsessed with illusion in art. He spends his time looking for more interesting ways to use commercial entertainment technology to create unique engagements in public spaces. There is no line between what Joel does in his work or spare time, he lectures on design and entertainment and studies amusement parks and spooky rides on the weekends.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I wish I’d collaborated with more people, these days I work in teams with great people, and I help tell other people’s stories with my art, I don’t think that’s what I was taught to do, and it took a while to realise. In another world I’d probably have gotten into commercial cooking, maybe designing airplane meals or restoring old paintings in Europe. If I had the patience.

Who inspires you and why?
People who have the courage to take an idea but learn something new and try to communicate to a new, larger or even smaller audience. Filmmakers from outside the industry like Jordan Peele, Miranda July and Steve McQueen are just amazing and perhaps on many people’s lists.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
What I’m trying to do is take the stuff that people think is kitschy or trashy and rather than just say ‘its b grade’ like a cliché arts school student, actually see the history and purpose in popular cultural aesthetics. I study spooky rides in particular and it’s part of a history of horror entertainment that goes way beyond trash or fandom.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Take me to Ocean City on the Maryland Coast to ride the Haunted Attractions and drink margaritas.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Dainty Sichuan then the Bendigo Hotel for shots of tequila.

What are you currently reading?
Pachyderm by Hugh McGinley – local writer, get around him!

What are you currently listening to?
Crawler from Idles, they’re one of the most powerful acts on the planet.  Also Cave World from Viagra Boys, they go pretty hard.

Happiness is?
Good Chinese food, loud music and tacky LED lights.

What does the future hold for you?
I’ll be travelling regularly between Australia and the US where I’ll be teaching at Kent State University on all these wonderful areas of entertainment and art. You’ll find me road tripping through the northeast visiting haunted attractions throughout the Halloween season.

Joel is a media artist whose work, Weather Vane can be seen at the Sally Walker Building (7.00pm – 1.00am), as part of White Night Geelong on Saturday 8 October 2022. For more information, visit: www.whitenight.com.au for details.

Image: Joel Zika (supplied)