More Potlucks, Less Sad Frozen Instant Meals
Interview with Jess Holly Bates
VCrof is a Chinese/European artist based in Auckland, whose practice spans the boundaries of installation, poetry and performance. She self-identifies and is identified by others as “introspective” and “on fire” and lately she has risen to local glory winning Best Storytelling/Spoken Word and the ATC Here and Now Award (Ak Fringe 2017). Her work Fortune 500 takes place on Wednesday 8th November, in the opening night of PAWA performances at Play_Station gallery from 6pm. Here she critiques our nationalist pohutukawa aesthetic, offers eight adjectives to describe performance art and the safety of a counter-top herb population.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
The pressure to be productive. Coffee with someone I care about.
Is ‘performance artist’ a title you use/like? How do you define that?
I used to define myself in the canon of performance art, but now I just identify broadly as an artist, who manipulates skills from different genres. These include performance, text and installation.
For me performance art is about action and activation (material, space, people). It can range from the theatrically hyper-realised to the banal quotidian. Performance art is durational, humble, invisible, flashy, direct, obtuse, impermanent and laborious.
Where do you call home, and why is that place meaningful for you?
What made you want to be a part of PAWA?
Who are the artists that are vibrating for you right now?
The feeling is mutual. You’re a delight. What are you up to outside of PAWA?
How you feeling about your upcoming performance piece? Why is it important to you?
I feel good about my performance – it’s a pretty humble offering, one in which I play the role of a giver. Because I’m operating in the background there is a lot less fear and far more interest in observing people’s reactions.
Finally, do you feel as though New Zealand respects the arts? why?
That’s a loaded question lol. I think New Zealand likes to think it respects the arts.
It’s easy for an average New Zealander to respect something that is already shown to be respectable, like a work which is already in Auckland Art Gallery. The public also tend to respond well to a semi-realistic canvas painting painted by a semi-well known painter who produce portraits of pohutukawa tree silhouetted against gold leaf sunsets featuring a small realistically embodied child running into the crashing waves.
In Conversation with Jess Holly Bates