On the Couch with Nicola Gunn

Nicola Gunn ONC 2Who is Nicola Gunn?
I am a person of strong social ethics, yet very few personal morals.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I would have learned how to drive when I was 16; I’d be studying dance; I’d have realised that all my problems can be attributed to an undiagnosed coeliac’s disease so I’d have given up my first love, bread, years ago and would not have wasted so many years being tired.

Who inspires you and why?
The really good comedians, people like Louie CK, because they are so damn smart.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Start a worm farm and ban cigarettes.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
A holiday what’s that? I remember going somewhere in 2002… Some day soon I would like to go to South America and hike the Inca Trail or Spain and France for the Camino de Santiago. I like holidays that combine exotic locations with some kind of physical activity.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I’d take them to a show at La Mama for an iconic theatrical experience, check out the artist studios at Blender and visit Michael Fikaris’s Silent Army Storeroom, go on a Melbourne Street Tour for 3-hour walk taking in all the best sites of Melbourne, and then go for food at Munster Haus because they pile it on and it’s delicious.

What are you currently reading?
My reading list is pretty dry at the moment because I’m also doing my Masters at RMIT in Art in Public Spaces, so it tends to err on the academic side. I’ve got a pile of books on social art practices, free exchange and institutional critique that I haven’t had time to read yet.

What are you currently listening to?
Boards of Canada and secretly the new Britney Spears song.

Happiness is?
Watching BBC crime drama on a Friday night.

What does the future hold for you?
As in exercise in therapeutic self-actualisation, a lecturing position at a foreign university and a studio where my company and I can make work. In reality, finishing my Masters, going on tour to Canberra and making a new show for MTC’s Neon Festival of independent theatre.

Nicola Gunn is a Melbourne-based performance artist and theatremaker. She is known for her solo work that blends performance, art and anthropology to explore the fragility of the human condition with subversive humour.

Nicola has received critical acclaim for her own genre of bewilderingly surreal performance that address themes of identity and transformation in both the social and individual realms: The Elephant Club (2002), Tyrannous Rex (2003), An Unfortunate Woman (2005), The Lost Property Office (2007), My Friend Schadenfreude (2009), At the Sans Hotel (2010), TWIN (2010) and Hello my name is (2012).

Tours include Canada, the US, New Zealand, Berlin, Australia and Edinburgh. In 2013 she was the recipient of an Australia Council Creative Australia Fellowship.

Nicola is the key artist in performance and design collective, Sans Hotel, with creative collaborators Gwen Holmberg-Gilchrist, Pier Carthew and Michael Fikaris. Together they are committed to experimental and site-specific works.

Nicola will take audiences on a journey that is stranger than autofiction in her new show In Spite of Myself presented by Arts Centre Melbourne in association with Melbourne Festival in October. For more information, visit: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au for details.

Image: Nicola Gunn