Q&A: Justin Shoulder

Carrion by Liz Ham, Tristan Jalleh & Justin Shoulder 2017.

NSW artist Justin Shoulder is currently in residence at PACT Centre for Emerging Artists – working on his new performance work Carrion, which will be presented at the upcoming 2017 Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art.

Following the Liveworks program launch last week, we sat down with Justin to get the dish on his new solo performance work. This is what Justin had to say.

You work across performance and video within both the club and arts worlds. What do you enjoy most about being a multidisciplinary artist?

The diversity of who you share your work with and how is so exciting for me. I love the potential to adapt my stories to these multiple spaces and mediums and how they all cross-pollinate each other – mutating. Where a show might have a seed in a club work – I’ll tease it out in a longer format in a theatre space that offers an enduring duration, a wider dramaturgy and different sense of focus. I also really love the agency that club work gives me to bring a short work into such a malleable sensorial space. The communities within these spaces are varied and I really love the different readings a work has because of this.

You’re currently in residence at PACT Centre for Emerging Artists developing a new performance work called Carrion. What inspired you to make this work? And how has this residency impacted your creative practice?

The work in part was a provocation for me to challenge my performative mode of practice. I have been working with the body of work The Fantastic Creatures for almost ten years, a practice seeded in the club/cabaret spaces of Sydney with a focus on spectacle and narrative through prosthesis and clowning. Carrion is a challenge to focus on the primacy of my body as a conveyor of transformation, to assist with this has been my mentor and Dramaturg Victoria Hunt, a totally incredible artist and friend. Carrion looks at the space between human, machine and animal forms where I become a sort of chimera remixing them.

“The work addresses the urgency I feel towards our relationship to nature, a crumbling capitalist model and shifting developments in the cybernetic field amongst other things.”

The residency at PACT was used to bring all the dramaturgical elements together in one space: Music by composer Corin Ileto, Lighting Design by Ben Cisterne, Dramaturgy by Victoria Hunt and costumes and sets made by Matthew Stegh and myself.

Carrion has its World Premiere at Performance Space’s Liveworks Festival in October. What are you most locking forward to about this opportunity?

I am really excited to share this work as I’m really proud of where it is going. It’s such a synthesis of many skills and collaborative practice on a big extended duration scale. I really love performing especially in a season format as it allows the opportunity for continual play and experimentation within the form of each run. I’m also super happy as it’s my home town and I love performing for my community.

Carrion deals with some very topical issues like climate change and dystopia. Why did you want to explore these issues in this work and have you gained any new insights?

I feel like yes those elements are in there but the work is about many things. It’s about human connection, empathy, our relationships to companion animals/wildness, the possibilities of being human/animal/machine. In the remixing of my form I hope to offer queer potentialities, there are moments of grief and also hope. I feel like it’s hard to pin down the work as I’m aiming for a multiplicity. In terms of new insights – it’s more about asking questions. I believe art is powerful but also for me one part of a much bigger fight/conversation extending beyond this space.

What are you looking forward to seeing at Liveworks?

All of it!


Immerse yourself in experimental art at Liveworks! This is your chance to #getexperimental and try something new. For bookings and more information visit www.performancespace.com.au

The creative development of Carrion was supported by Create NSW through the Arts and Cultural Projects funding category. Applications for Arts and Cultural Projects (Round two) open on 30 October 2017. For more information about applying for Arts and Cultural Project funding, please click here.

Share options
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • email
  • Add to favorites

Published: 23 August 2017