On the Couch with Joseph Mitchell

Joseph Mitchell Arts Review On the Couch - photo by Randy LarcombeWho is Joseph Mitchell?
Artistic Director for OzAsia Festival. And when time permits, recreational scuba diver, cinema goer, occasional tourist to various places around the world and avid supporter of local wineries anywhere I happen to be.

What would you do differently to what you do now?   
Well I do occasionally ponder about how it could be interesting to be a Theoretical Physicist. And of course, somewhere out there in the multiverse, I am one.

Who inspires you and why?
I am inspired by people who think differently, challenge the status quo or create their own pathway through the world. There are far too many people to list here that have inspired me so instead, I pose the question: do you want to inspire others, if so, what are you doing that is actually inspiring?

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Advocate for an even greater presence of arts within our society, to ensure it is a fundamental part of mainstream society in the same way sport has achieved this.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I mainly enjoy hiking through South East Asia and Southern parts of China. In order to recharge, I need to completely escape from digital type things and big cities, and hiking is the best way to do that. One of my favourite hikes was 3 days along the Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan Province of China. For my next hike, I plan to trek to The Pinnacles in Borneo.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Adelaide Central Markets on a Saturday morning – it has a buzz and energy that always feels warm and homely and the local produce is mouthwatering. After that, a 30min drive up to Adelaide Hills. The Barossa or Clare Valley may be more widely known, but Adelaide Hills celebrates the fun and enjoyment one can get from tasting wine without being too serious. It’s also home to my favourite local winery Bird in Hand.

What are you currently reading?
The Course of Love by Alain de Botton. It’s a follow up (in terms of style) to Essays in Love, one of his earlier books which is more of a half novel / half pop philosophy fusion. I have been reading his works for many years now, and admire how he references the great philosophers as guide to help us navigate our way through the moral complexities of the modern world.

What are you currently listening to?
Some music from Japan, mainly Keiichiro Shibuya – who fuses classical piano and electronic music and also Nisennenmondai, a trio from Tokyo who play hypnotic post-rock instrumental sets. This may also be a hint of what one can expect to find at the 2017 OzAsia Festival.

Happiness is?
Not being concerned about fads, trends and glossy marketing materials that con people into thinking they would be happier if they bought some product or ideology.

What does the future hold for you?
Does anyone in the arts really know what the future holds? Lucky for me, I don’t like to know and if I did, it would make me anxious as I prefer to surprise myself rather than have things planned out. Life should be a bit unpredictable – it’s filled with challenges, surprises and rewards. And of course, the multiverse theory hypothesizes that anything and everything happens in the future and has already occurred in the past as well.

The 2016 OzAsia Festival runs 17 September – 2 October. For more information, visit: www.ozasiafestival.com.au for detals.

Image: Joseph Mitchell – photo by Randy Larcombe