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Clear Design Insolation Diaries Volume28 Header

We created the Isolation Diaries over four months ago, as a way to keep motivated and inspired during our lockdown. We recently teamed up for a content collaboration with LA-based architects LOHA to bring a special global perspective to the project, where we take a look at what people are reading, watching, making, and listening to—across continents. Our special guest this week is Artist Julian Day.

Clear Design Insolation Diaries Volume28 Reading

The tale of an ageing socialite and her son who move to Paris to desperately squander her inheritance, French Exit is both dark and absurdly humorous. Darkly defined as ‘an instant classic of the worst decade yet’, Jia Tolentino’s first book Trick Mirror has been keeping us real throughout quarantine, an enlightening read about what defines this generation and our time. Zadie Smith’s illuminating essays in Intimations are personal, powerful and thought-provoking.

Clear Design Insolation Diaries Volume28 Watching

Directed by Paolo Sorrentino, The Great Beauty transports us to Rome in all its monumental glory. Bake-off has made its return to the screen and we couldn’t be happier about it. Bring us all of the delicious recipes, wholesome banter, and incredibly low-stakes drama, please. Australia really is the land of extremes, and this week we’re exploring this magical Land of Oz with Barry Humphries—and the challenges faced by Australia’s wildlife.

Clear Design Insolation Diaries Volume28 Making

We’re taking advantage on the weekends of our outdoor freedom, hiking and climbing at Joshua Tree National Park, an excellent way to get active (be gone, lactic acid). We’re cactus grafting, a common method of propagation for these hardiest of plants. Go on… Grow some wildly beautiful mutants. Still Life Ceramics has been offering online classes and workshops for all levels, so we can make a custom home for our new succulent friends.

Clear Design Insolation Diaries Volume28 Listening

Atmospheric, with equal reverence for light and dark. Yves Tumor’s Experiencing the Deposit of Faith is a hopeful, multi-layered compilation. Need some listening material suitable for soothing a newborn? We have you covered with this beautiful tribute playlist (courtesy of Judson at LOHA). David Lynch’s weather report has been keeping us up-to-date on the colour of the sky, the state of the climate, and apples. We hope everyone has a great day… especially David Lynch.

Clear Design Insolation Diaries Volume28 Talking

We spoke with Julian Day—Artist, composer, and writer (and occasional ABC radio presenter) living in New York City—about the city, introducing new rituals, and keeping inspired. Julian has upcoming exhibitions throughout October, November and December this year, including Minorly Magical in NYC, Making Art Work in Brisbane, a new ambient sound work coming soon to OCMA, California, an upcoming video work for the Australian Music Centre, and a commission for Chelsea Music Festival in New York.

What’s the current view from your home office?

A glowering sky, Art Deco apartments, eerie rows of pigeons, a slight limp US flag, and a tree that took months to heft up and is slimming again as the weather cools.

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What are you currently working on?

I’m making disorienting video work with Chicago filmmaker Lori Felker. I just read a book on psychogeography, the art of mapping cities through elliptical and emotional cues, and we are sending each other inscrutable instructions.

How do you structure your day?

There are good days and there are Netflix days. On good days I spend the morning writing, reading, and playing the piano. I break for lunch and, if needed, sneak in a nap. I then walk or catch the subway to my studio where I mess around with found objects (my sculptural practice), sketch out new work and edit up audio and video. At various intervals, if I’m not an anxious wreck I’ll tackle emails. I walk home and fall asleep with the iPhone on my face.

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What was the last thing you bookmarked or saved? Why?

I’ve been loitering on the website of House Of Bedlam, a Manchester-based experimental ensemble who threads together high art concepts and music theatre. I ran some workshops with them, remotely, and was newly inspired.

What has changed for you in isolation and what will you take away from it?

I learned the power of tiny goals and small daily rituals: writing for 15 minutes, playing a Bach piece, reading on the fire escape, watering the plants. These have magically recharged my focus and, interestingly, my ambition.

Related Project — Isolation Diaries, Volume 27