On the Couch with Kelli Alred

Kelli-Alred-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Kelli Alred?
… a collaborative spirit who seeks conceptually and intellectually rigorous conversations with people who offer different perspectives from my own. I enjoy being part of a larger picture and am drawn to innovation. I’m always flipping things on their head and pulling unlikely juxtapositions together. This is the basis for my curatorial and dramaturgical practice.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
If I had my time over, I would like to be an architect. I love the idea of designing space and creating environments for people to activate. This is how think about exhibition making.

Who inspires you and why?
I get endless inspiration from the artists I work with. They are often deep thinkers, robust researches and wily activists. This is one of the reasons I enjoy facilitating new commissions. It is an opportunity to open a long-term dialogue with an artist and gain insight into their process and politic.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I try to be as kind as I can, as often as I can.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Fraser Island. It’s a magical place and I have fond memories of annual family holidays there. When I lived in the UK, I liked hanging out lackadaisically in sun-drenched piazzas, eating tapas and drinking air temperature glasses of Rioja in the south of Spain, or hitting Berlin for a bit of cultural grit in the oyster.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Wilson’s Promontory is a favourite place to take visitors if we have a few days up our sleeve. It’s a stunning natural environment with lots of walking trails. Otherwise, I might suggest a casual stroll upstream along the Birrarung, followed by a good local restaurant – something a bit vibey with share plates and a decent wine list.

What are you currently reading?
I tend to read a number of things at once so that I can correlate different ideas. Currently I am reading articles by feminist theorists Rosi Braidotti and Karen Barad, as well as the book Entangled Life: How Fungi make our worlds, change our minds, and shape our futures by Merlin Sheldrake.

What are you currently listening to?
I’ve been indulging in the limited edition, 2017 box set by German artist and electronic music producer Carsten Nicolai and the back catalogue of British MC Spaceape, especially his collaborations with the Scottish dubstep legend Kode9. Podcasts on gut health and macroeconomics also feature heavily.

Happiness is?
… being immersed in cool water on a hot day. This probably says something about my southeast Queensland roots.

What does the future hold for you?
I never know what is around the corner. It is the ongoing process of discovery that gets me up in the mornings.

Kelli is the Curator of Interspecies and Other Others – a world premiere after dark exhibition that will transform the gardens and architecture of Melbourne’s beloved and heritage-listed Abbotsford Convent from 26 August 2022. For more information, visit: www.abbotsfordconvent.com.au for details.

Image: Kelli Alred (supplied)