Introducing Ira Ferris | Associate Artist
Multi-disciplinary artist Ira Ferris joins LRT as an Associate Artist. Ira’s experience is broad covering a wide section of the sector from practice, curation and curiosity. Recently, St Anne invited Ira to join the company for our major work ‘The Reckoning’ and a new partnership started to take shape.
We took a stroll with Ira to check in with her about…well…her!
Ira you work across wide parts of the sector as an artist, curator, journalist, researcher. So, who is the real Ira Ferris?
The ‘real’ Ira. Ha!
All of the things you listed: curator, artist, journalist, researcher – I don’t really see them as distinct. They are all just means to the end, and the end is a desire to express something that plays with my mind at the time. The ‘real’ Ira is maybe simply exploring how best to do that, using whatever medium, form, discipline is available.
And then…where I feel the happiest is ‘dance’. And because I have encountered the world (and myself) through dance, ‘dance’ is the core lens through which all these explorations are done. Like a native language of a sort, through which everything else is translated.
What do you believe is your fit with LRT as a new home?
The word ‘fit’ makes me uncomfortable straight away. Maybe what I like about LRT is that it can fit a lot. And the frame changes and moulds continuously.
I suppose it is my own focus on the body, questioning the limits of language, and seeking the possibilities of the poetic that draw me to LRT and draw you to me? I like LRT’s unconventionality and the fact that it never sits still in any given category. I like LRT because it does not really ‘fit’.
Working across these fields how would you describe the health of our independent sector?
I would describe it as ‘chronically ill’. But that’s not the case with ‘our sector’ only – it is a global pandemic.
What can we do to heal? On interpersonal level, artist-to-artist: Support each other. Champion each other. On institutional level, obviously more funding and infrastructural support; free working spaces; less competitive frameworks/models; gentler slower working methodologies that allow for ‘pauses’.
You work across different sectors given your extraordinary experience. Why the arts? And more importantly why the independent arts?
Independent arts because I never had another option. But I am also quite happy here in this sector, because it leaves more space for creative freedom. I mean all arts should be ‘independent’, no?
Why arts? Can any one of us really answer that question? If I try to, well, I can tell you that my mum took me to a dance class when I was five. When I wanted to quit – because it was hard work and I’d rather hang out with my friends – she went to talk to my dance teacher (the wonderful Desanka Virant, aka (‘Desa’) who encouraged her to resist my ‘laziness’ and ‘discipline me’ into continuing because I had talent, she said. I also trained in tennis as a child, but this one was a different story. When I said to my mum I would like to quit, she also went to the trainer and the trainer advised: don’t bother, she is not that good. So that’s why. Other people saw something in me and paved my way. I am very grateful this path is ‘dance’.
Ira Ferris is a Zagreb-born, Sydney-based interdisciplinary artist and somatic practitioner, with foundation in contemporary dance and training in BodyWeather. She is interested in opening dance to diverse bodies and ways of moving, including the very subtle and minute. Journalist and Art Historian by trade, Ira hosts Arts Monday on Eastside Radio and contributes to experimental arts publication ADSR Zine. With Elia Bosshard she co-authored SPACE BODY HABIT, a book that explores and challenges our relationship to space.