On the Couch with Samara Hersch

AF-Samara-Hersch-photo-by-Pier-CarthewWho is Samara Hersch?
I am an artist working across contemporary performance and community engagement. My projects have led me to work in collaboration with teenagers, seniors, community choirs, activists, musicians, dancers, performers, the living, the dead and the unresolved spirits (or dybbuks) that linger in between…

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I would slow down and try to take on fewer things in a day.

Who inspires you and why?
I am very inspired by the various youth activists that I have been privileged to work with through a number of arts projects. I am inspired by their courage, commitment and insistence on speaking up to adults around them in order to create a more fair, caring and accountable society. They give me hope that there are some extraordinary leaders ready to take charge.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
More inter-generational conversations about the body! I am feeling really excited about the potential of live performance as an attempt to get us out of our echo chambers and into unexpected and unlikely encounters with people from other parts of the world and from different generations and lived experiences. There is so much to learn from one another’s embodied knowledge.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I love camping, even though I struggle to set up a tent! There is something magical about sleeping on the earth, and waking up to the sounds of birds and the first glimmers of morning light.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I really enjoy taking friends to the Yarra Bend Park at dusk to see the tens of thousands of flying fruit bats, who migrate there. They are an endangered species and so its quite remarkable to witness so many of them resting in daylight whilst hanging upside down from the trees, before taking off in swarms across the night sky.

What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Ideas to Postpone the End of the World by Ailton Krenak and re-reading Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit. In an unexpected way, both are about ‘hope’ and the power that comes through seemingly small acts of resistance.

What are you currently listening to?
I recently was introduced to a podcast called Bow Down – which explores the lives and careers of significant female artists. It’s so inspiring to become acquainted with such a remarkable legacy that is so often excluded from art history.

Happiness is?
Uninterrupted time//Creative flow //Good conversations// A glass of wine and some pizza.

What does the future hold for you?
I look forward to getting back into a rehearsal room and also touring performances again (after last year’s many cancellations and lock downs). Let’s see what 2022 has install…

Samara is the concept creator and director of Sex and Death_ and the Internet – which will be presented at Union House – University of Adelaide as part of the 2022 Adelaide Festival from 9 – 20 March. For more information, visit: www.adelaidefestival.com.au for details.

Image: Samara Hersch – photo by Pier Carthew