Hi my name is Tina Stefanou and I am a first generation Greek-Australian vocalist and artist.
In Australia as elite, upper and middle classes became affected by global disparities and bio-political implications during the first-wave of the pandemic, for a short time, some of the vulnerable and unemployed were considered worthy of living right on the poverty line, instead of below it. This act of social service did not last long and what happens to those who are not receiving benefits? Furthermore, what does this mean moving forward as artists-in-crisis? How do we move away from capital flows of art commodities and into other configurations of artistic practice? What and where is the (Art)work?
As a lucky one – who is part of the educated class but situated within immigrant working class presents and histories. I pragmatically turn to the maintenance of the everyday physical realities across species and bodies. Echos from peasant pasts, grandmother wisdoms and more-than human labour interfaces form the thinking of what constitutes as new/old forms of (Art)work? Instead of networking towards an ascending self-brand, the ‘I’ becomes embedded in a daily meshwork of living and flourishing – with and for others.
Here, the practice is not attributed to an author – it is situated among community and ecosystems. There is a lot of work to be done in order to find new ways of being-in-practice and life in times of increasing economical-biological-social crisis. The playful dimensions of living within local and immediate spaces provides opportunities to re-orientate, re-position and take what is at stake very seriously. My (art)works interrogate where art is seen and for whom. I do this by working with working-class regional sites and communities including my own family, as a vocalist through participatory encounters and imaginings, as well as multi-species performance, animal husbandry and land care. I am also interested in the stories we tell ourselves in order to maintain or to be part wealthier urban art cultures and upper-middle class values of success and ambition.
Action over content. Politeness is not kindness. Other-than-English. More-than-Art. Wealthy habits. Artist-as-Ape. Art Warmness. Deep Hospitality.