Artist Interview: Loren Kronemeyer

After another tumultuous winter for the arts community, Performing Lines reached out to some of our associated artists to touch base. In this series of interviews, which will be published throughout October, we spoke about lockdown coping strategies, how each artist’s practice and perspective has changed over the past year, and where creative work fits in the middle of a pandemic (if at all).

Today we hear from Loren Kronemeyer, whose works span interactive and live performance, experimental media art, and large-scale worldbuilding projects aimed at exploring ecological futures and survival skills.

 

While Covid has significantly disrupted our capacity to work in the arts, this can provide down time to reconnect with other art forms. What are some of the things you’ve been reading, watching, or listening to?

Over the past few weeks I’ve gotten in the habit of watching documentary or news footage of events from the late 1980s or early 1990s, then calling my parents in Los Angeles with friends the next morning to ask about their memories.  It’s been a nice way to open lateral conversation with them.  I’ve recently engaged with my mother’s recollecting 16 years of Nancy Reagan’s political career, and my father’s memories of the Heaven’s Gate suicides and Hale Bop comet.  It’s nice to look at collective cultural memories through their eyes.

I’ve been working through the complete chronology of David Cronenberg films to complement this inquiry.   This is something I can neither recommend nor condone for those few still trying to stave off the looming spiral into deep alienation.  But for those souls who are eager to look into the mirror and marvel at the horror of how embodiment, how teeth and nails protrude uninvited from flesh, how the gooey tragedy of our inability to fully connect or disconnect from one another leaves us stranded in an ocean of performative meat: enjoy.

 

Has this been a significant change in how you engage with art?

The biggest change for me has been that I don’t have as much stimulation in the form of live shows or gallery shows as I used to.  With fewer opportunities to travel, I have fewer opportunities to see work of different scales and mediums and perspectives.  It’s something I miss, because I do some of my best thinking when I’m taking in shows.  To make up for it, I’ve given myself more carte blanche to develop some of the more pointless or absurd ideas from my own mental arsenal, just to see where they take me.  Keeping play alive in my practice is important, so I am getting as much stimulation as I can from my peers and my environment.

There does seem to be a bit of pressure to use our time productively during this
pandemic. We keep seeing this very factually suspicious meme circulating, claiming
that Shakespeare wrote King Lear throughout a plague. Have you found this
expectation of creativity in such to be a realistic standard?

Shakespeare had patronage. Today’s artists, especially independent and interdependent artists, are being asked to work for less and less.  We have access to less support and fewer opportunities, and we must shoulder disproportionate burdens, both financial and corporeal, to get our work done.  We are expected to work across multiple levels of contingency, which can double or triple the workload of a project.  I have been in multiple scenarios where the risk of work getting postponed or cancelled comes to pass, and as the creator, I am expected to be the only party involved that doesn’t earn a wage for my hours completed to date.  So it’s a bit unfair to be asked to deliver King Lear when you’re being supported to deliver Detachable Penis.

I could do all sorts of things with a nice loyal aristocratic patronage.  But if I am responsible for martialing the resources for my own projects, then those projects are going to happen how and when I want them to.

 

If you have been working, is it in a different way than before? Has your focus shifted to
different forms or ideas or methods?

I am lucky that I am a very antidisciplinary, creatively promiscuous artist.  My inquiry and methods are always shifting.  I do a lot of creative thinking in and around the tasks of daily life, and I find inspiration through learning new skills, talking, exploring, and collaborating.  I’ve enjoyed the chance this time has given me to strengthen my network of local collaborators, and to dream about how to manufacture opportunities for us to keep our convivial practices going.

 

What has been bringing you joy recently?

My dog.

Loren Kronemyer is an artist living and working in remote lutruwita (Tasmania), Australia. Her works span interactive and live performance, experimental media art, and large-scale worldbuilding projects aimed at exploring ecological futures and survival skills. Here recent work After Erika Eiffel has toured to ANTI Festival of Live Art 2019 (Finland) and MONA FOMA Festival 2020 (lutruwita/Tasmania).  As a collaborator with Pony Express, she has created influential mega-projects including Abolish the Olympics, Epoch Wars, and Ecosexual Bathhouse, a touring queer sex club for the entire ecosystem. She is co-curator of the show PREPPERS, touring across Australia since 2017.

In 2017, Kronemyer was the first artist in residence at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research. She collaborates frequently with laboratories and received the first Masters of Biological Arts Degree from SymbioticA Lab at the University of Western Australia. Her work has been hosted by Santarcangelo Festival (Italy), Forum of the Future (Portugal), Interformat Symposium (Lithuania), Contemporary Art Tasmania (AU), Dark Mofo (AU), Liveworks (AU), Next Wave (AU), The Perth Institute for Contemporary Art, The Perth International Arts Festival, The School of Visual Art (New York), and the International Symposium of Electronic Arts. She is seasonal lecturer for the Icelandic Academy of Arts Masters of Performing Arts Program, and a PhD Candidate at the University of Tasmania.

In everything we do, we acknowledge that we live on Aboriginal land and constantly learn from the wisdom of First Peoples.

Where we are and the history that precedes us informs how we work and how we move forward.