Clear
The Isolation Diaries v41 Title

Welcome to the May volume of the Isolation Diaries, our monthly round-up of the things that keep us creatively motivated. In each instalment of 2021, Clear will connect with friends, colleagues and peers to explore their view of the world. Next up, we're talking with independent curator, art consultant and arts writer Marielle Soni.

The Isolation Diaries v41 Headings

May has Melbourne’s cultural heart beating powerfully with pure community joy. We are proud to have contributed to Yirramboi (Brand and campaign) and Rising (Brand strategy with design by Maud). Our insider tip: Madhanbaa Mayrraa (James Henry X Grand Organ)—May 08th and Club Briefs (Yirramboi closing night party)—May 15th, which we have tickets to share. For Rising, we recommend Initiation OA_RR Reko Rennie and Golden Square.

Read up on non-fungible tokens with Emily Ratajkowski. Experience a different holiday with the stunning biopic; The United States vs Billie Holiday, escape Imaginaria, and learn to Say No More.

Mike Check. Check One, Check Two; We have all types of beats for your pods with our own very quiet and reflective Sometimes playlist, a tribute to DMX (RIP) and a cracking set of indestructible sounds from DJ Shadow. And forgive the May the Force joke, but check out Candlelight: Movie Soundtracks of John Williams (composer of you guessed it: STAR WARS!)

The Isolation Diaries v41 1

Marielle Soni is an independent curator, art consultant and arts writer who shares her love of writing, creative thinking and exploring ideas.

The travel industry has been stalled by the pandemic. If you could freely travel the world, where would you go?
At the moment? Home is really rather lovely. I enjoy Melbourne, and love walking around my city side-by-side with the river listening to the birdsongs. So, I asked my daughter, and her answer is: ‘Greece, the Greek Islands. A. because I’ve never been there, and B. It looks beautiful and relaxing. It would be nice to sit there in the sunshine by the water.’

Which artist or designer inspires you the most?
Oh, dear. The answer to that changes depending on many factors, and what I need from art on any given day. I am always drawn to colour, artists who use the language of colour. Colour can be a powerful expression of energy and individuality, and I use that in fashion, selecting items that I genuinely have an affinity for.

I’d have to say the personal discovery of Hilma af Klint’s extraordinary artwork was a mind-blowing experience for me. I’ve never seen her work physically in front of me, but even the reproductions have me vibrating at a different frequency. Pure creative inspiration, levitating qualities. To have a major show of hers coming to our shores this year is something I am determined not to miss. William Blake has a similar effect on me.

Sanctuary: the saints, angels and particularly the Madonnas of various hands of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, Murillo, Correggio, Da Vinci, Titian, Carravaggio, Gentileschi.

But I think you know who really inspires you by what actions you involve yourself in. Looking at it that way it must be the artists I work with. Therefore, the late Ginger Riley Munduwalawala (colour genius) and Eubena Nampitjin (painter’s painter).

Melbourne based Tomislav Nikolic, whose work exists only because of colour, and on which I’m currently working with on a book scheduled to be published this year, one of many creative projects I’ve been inspired to invest myself into with him over the years, including our most recent one: The ReviewBoard.

Another local is Cameron Hayes who I have worked with over many years also. One of the main reasons I love art is because it is the one subject that encompasses all possible subjects. I love art because I am enthralled by humans, animals, nature, history, the world of ideas, fantasy, philosophy, politics, psychology, words, etc. In Cameron’s narrative based figurative work I get all of that. It is food for the intellect and the soul. I learn a lot about human nature from his work and laugh quite a bit as well.

Which musical artist is on high rotation at the moment?
I firstly have to acknowledge the Purple One, the #GodOfMusic himself, Prince, my foremost musical and cultural inspiration on this 5-year anniversary of his untimely passing. How privileged I am to have had the opportunity to share this earth with him while he was alive. However, (looks apologetically heavenwards) as blasphemous as this feels to me, it hasn’t been Prince I’ve been spending most days with. Although, he’d probably approve….

Alicia by Alicia Keys. Stay with me. Sure, it’s not the up-tempo R&B, funk, disco, dance fusion that I usually champion by dancing around the living room to. It is subtle. Very soulful. It was the perfect antidote to a difficult year. And it is an album, I mean a real, composed, cohesive, storytelling, emotional journey album.

It started as enjoyable background for the endless home office days, then it grew, and grew, into something significant the more I listened to it. To me it feels courageously authentic, a product of an artist who set out to achieve something truthful to her vision, and succeeded.

Keys is a great collaborator. The voices on Alicia add emotional timbre to already great song writing. References to unconditional love, loss, gun violence, existential pain, racism, hope—perfectly orchestrated, beautifully contained in one album. Despite it being digital, it is an album in the traditional sense—no commercially selected bag of potential hits, this is artistry. A very special shout out to Sampha, one of the collaborators on the song 3 Hour Drive. Those micro moments of his controlled but vulnerable vocal breaks and high intonations, are pure poetry. I find myself halted in suspended animation at those points, because it is so exquisite it stops me in my tracks. He was a great discovery.

What do you see to be the emerging trend of 2021?
I honestly don’t know. Perhaps that is the emerging trend of 2021, the realisation that we really don’t know what is around the corner. That control is a delusion.

What I desperately hope is the emerging trend of 2021 though is Truth. That we dedicate ourselves to it, seek it, respect it, face it and connect with it. Particularly as it pertains to our place within the world as a species. That we, collectively, are one tiny part of nature, and if we do not value the truth of that we will find ourselves forcibly excluded. Nature will be fine without humans. Humans? Not going to be so great for us without the ecological balance of Mother Nature. Stop destroying Mother— if that is the developing trend of 2021 we might just be okay.

Has the pandemic changed the way you structure your working day?
Due to circumstances beyond my control, I had already begun to restructure my working day and space. A change of pace (slowing down) and flexibility are key. It makes people more productive, happier, healthier and engaged. I’m all for changing our value systems around work on a macro level—that, as a society, we start to value time more than we value the state of being “busy”. Busy is a distraction unless it is with purpose, and to find purpose you need time to think.


What project has you up late at night?
Unfinished business.

Related Project — Isolation Diaries, Volume 40