On the Couch with Melanie Jame Wolf

Melanie Jame Wolf photo by Alexander CogginWho is Melanie Jame Wolf?
I am an Australian born, video artist and performance maker who makes work under the name Savage Amusement, sometimes solo, sometimes with friends. I live between Melbourne and Berlin and I will be on my way back to Melbourne in early June to present my solo performance work, Mira Fuchs at Arts House. This piece uses my experience of working for 8 years as a dancer in a Gentleman’s Club in Melbourne to invite audiences to critically explore their own position on gender, dance as labour, and the body as commerce.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Not much, probably sleep more. Oh, I would also record the music I kind of secretly write and tinker with. I think, growing up, I really, really wanted to be a singer, well, I know I did. I sing in my pieces more and more… so perhaps that lane change is approaching.

Who inspires you and why?
A person who inspires me a great deal at the moment is writer and music producer Terre Thaemlitz, because of the super critical rigour that they apply to the way that they approach everything: from lecturing to making house music. They inspire me to be really disciplined in the way that I make work and in the ways that I choose to relate to other people. They inspire me because they aren’t insisting on a politics necessarily, but more of a practical ethics.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Try and practice radical honesty and radical acceptance on a day to day level. Practice gratitude.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Favignana, Sicily. The colour and clarity of the water make me cry: two weeks there just swimming, snorkelling, riding around on bikes, and eating ridiculously fresh seafood will change everything.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
My time is divided between Melbourne and Berlin. In Melbourne, I’d just take them to endless places to eat. The food in Melbourne is out of control good and it is the thing I miss the most. In Berlin, I think my favourite place is any of several lakes that are just on the edge of the city in the Summertime.

What are you currently reading?
I am reading The Queer Art of Failure by Judith Halberstam and Pornocracy by Catherine Breillat.

What are you currently listening to?
Broken English by Marianne Faithfull, I bought it on vinyl at the Flohmarkt near my apartment in Wedding. It reminds me of my dad, who taught me so much about music. I also just love her on this record, she’s fierce and flawed and totally iconic.

Happiness is?
In the present.

What does the future hold for you?
Good things, I hope. I am about to premiere a new piece that I have been making with Fabian Holle, Baly Ngyuen, and Damian Rebgetz, Elegy for Television at HAU – Hebbel am Ufer in Berlin. So that feels like my entire horizon right now. But after that, I would really love to continue working more with film and video as an expanded part of my practice as a performer and maker.

Melanie Jame’s solo performance work, Mira Fuchs will be presented at Arts House – North Melbourne Town Hall: 2 – 12 June 2016. For more information, visit: www.artshouse.com.au for details.

Image: Melanie Jame Wolf – photo by Alexander Coggin