One of my teachers recently described the path into knowledge as the poetic act of “walking backwards into the future”, a journey through the darkness of unknowing, as the lightning flashes of insight gleaned from the past illuminate the way forward. It is also a beautifully twinned concept about the importance of acknowledging the past when moving forward into the future.
In a similar way, the latest double issue of Peril invited submissions of poetry, prose and visual arts that explored binaries and dualities. With a staggered release across both Editions 16 and 17, we feature interviews with three visual artists who walk their own individual paths through the shifting borderlands of culture, identity, past and future.
In my interview with Eugenia Lim, we revisit her performance installation Stay Home Sakoku: the Hikikomori Project, which explores ‘shut-in’ syndrome, extreme social reclusion of a younger generation, and people who live on the fringes of society. In this interview we discuss Lim’s work in the context of inside/outside, real/virtual spaces, and being physically isolated and virtually connected at the same time.
Matt Huynh is a Sydney-born/Brooklyn-based artist, whose latest graphic novel MA traces the story of his family’s journey as they are displaced by the Vietnam War and flee to a Malaysian refugee camp. In this interview, Huynh discusses his strong connection to the story of his family’s past, in-between spaces, refugees and asylum seekers, powerful symbols of water/sky, and the visual poetry of comics.
Nikki Lam is a young Melbourne based artist, curator and self-described “curious other”, whose performance video Falling Leaf Returns to its Roots / 落葉歸根 is a multi-layered and sophisticated take on one of Australia’s most iconic images: Max Dupain’s Sunbaker. In this interview we discuss the moving/still image, shifting positions of female/male and Asian/Australian within the image, and static/fluid identities. With summer fast approaching, what better way to consider the Australian beach, such a contested site of territorial sand, surf and skin.
I hope you enjoy reading these artist interviews!
 Ross Gibson, Professor of Contemporary Arts, Sydney College of the Arts. http://sydney.edu.au/sca/profiles/Ross_Gibson.shtml