Virginia Barratt, Writer and Performance Artist

Cultural Heart

Meet our dedicated city creatives, and learn how they are navigating and finding ways to stay creative and connected in the wake of COVID-19.

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"I am currently undertaking a PhD in creative writing and performance.

My research area is panic, and it informs most of my creative production, because ultimately it is relational - what is our relationship to being in the world."

I would call myself a trans-media artist, and at the heart of my praxis is making-with others. Or co-creation. Or collaboration. Not just with human others but also with non-human others, like, for example, the earstones of the mulloway at Hallet Cove. Put simply, I write, perform, make sound and video. I have a long history of working around ideas of gender, technology and activism, and was part of the Adelaide collective VNS Matrix, which produced the Cyberfeminist Manifesto for the 21st Century in 1991.

What has been your experience over the last few months?

Over the last few months, I have learned how hard it is to make in isolation, because we are never (even if we don’t place collaboration at the core of our praxis) making alone, we are always making-with others, even if we don’t know it. All creative production happens in a feedback loop: what we put out into the world, what we glean from the world - and ultimately what kind of systemic cultures we are embedded in. Isolation narrowed the input channels, and I found that both calming (less noise) and flattening (less noise!).

What do you hope to see happen next in the City of Adelaide?

I’d love to see more spaces opened up for public works that include use of the city as an artwork. I’d like to see more artist relationships with spaces like MOD. and Lot Fourteen, and that those spaces and others have programs accessible to artists who are underfunded, that RENEW operates more accessibly to artists. Public spaces that currently exist are underutilised (such as the video screen on Rundle Street). I’d like to see a prioritising of first nations artists and then other minority groups - artists of colour, disabled artists and LGBTQIA+ artists.

Where can we see more of your work?

My website or via email.

Image (top): "Her eyes were as black as coal” (video still from installation), with Francesca da Rimini, Refiguring the Future, 205 Hudson, New York, 2019

Image (bottom): RUPTURE, with Jessie Boylan and Linda Dement, Big Anxiety Festival, Esme Timbery CPL, UNSW, Sydney, 2019