How Are You Today – Channon Goodwin

Channon Goodwin

How Are You Today – Episode 13


Instagram handle @fellow_worker
Instagram handle @busprojects


Kiera Brew Kurec 0:04
Hi, and welcome to Pro Prac. I’m Kiera Brew Kurec.

Nick Breedon 0:07
And I’m Nick Breedon. You’re listening to How Are You Today? a spin off series where we call an artist and check in with how Coronavirus is affecting them, and ask them to share their worries and their hopes for the future.

Kiera Brew Kurec 0:22

Channon Goodwin 0:22
Hey there

Nick Breedon 0:23

Kiera Brew Kurec 0:25
Thanks for joining us today.

Channon Goodwin 0:27
Not at all, a pleasure.

Kiera Brew Kurec 0:29
How are you today?

Channon Goodwin 0:31
Oh, yeah, good. I think like everyone, I think it’s um, yeah, various levels of treading water and playing by ear. And, yeah, it’s kind of a weird, yeah, I don’t know, it’s a weird moment, I suppose when things are supposedly, for some returning to normal and some people really not. So it’s kind of a fairly complex time, let’s say.

Nick Breedon 0:59
Channon, how have you been affected by COVID-19?

Channon Goodwin 1:02
So I think I’ve been affected only in the sense of disruption to business as usual. I am not, I think for me, I it’s been a time where really, I need to reflect on the both the interdependence of my, my circumstance and, and the support structures that that mean that I can weather such moments without too much disruption. I mean, I’m not in particularly vulnerable group, I am not either health wise, or otherwise, to me, I need to reflect that this is my ability to, to kind of like, you know, go through these kind of moments is really because of the privileges I have, what I was born into, in terms of, and also who supports me now. So that would be very good for me, if I didn’t have a lot of support structures, which kind of almost prop up my life, right. So it’s a, it’s a kind of a false economy that I’d sort of live on in a way, you know. My day job, as an art worker is, you know, well below the well below the national average, but certainly below the poverty line, but I’m supported by a partner who pays rent, and who has a better paying job. So if any one of these support structures, you know, in my you know, I have parents who help if needed, yes, I’m, I’m rapidly aging, you know, as I almost hit 40, but it’s kind of all of these things are either, I have differed any serious, you know, accounting for, for, you know, what am I moment like this would would mean if I’m sort of propped up by other better, you know, people who, who have circumstances that, that allow me to kind of like, say, you know, when posed that question, fine, you know. Our work has, you know, I’ve had a pay rise because of job keeper, because it would get, like, 800 a fortnight in terms of pay, and now it’s whatever the job keeper is, yeah, you know, so it’s like, you know, I can say that, you know, strangely, these moments, you know, potentially stop, you know, business, you know, business as usual is not sustainable, right. So when we have moments of pause like this, for someone, in my circumstance, that where it doesn’t come with a health vulnerability, or a, and, as I just said, like, other support, other people’s support, you know, the economy of how I live, like, it allows me to kind of actually reflect on on what what businesses what, like, what business as usual, actually is, for me, you know, It makes me think about the sustainability of that. And what kind of, you know, toxic aspects there are of, of the of normality for me in terms of work.

Nick Breedon 4:08
Yeah, I think there probably is quite a lot of people who are finding themselves in a slightly better position than they were before because of, you know, programs like job keeper where they might be getting more income than they were before and wondering, well, if that’s, if that’s how the arts industry sort of has to operate, then, maybe that’s not, you know, okay. Like, the government thinks that $1500.00 a fortnight is like the minimum that sort of, you know, regular Australian can get by on then, what are we all living off?

Channon Goodwin 4:48
It’s true, and one of the things that potentially it does also for for people, you know, people like me, I suppose, who who potentially coast on a level of kind of either privilege or you know, In spite of, you know, not being particularly wealthy, you know, there I am alleviated to a whole lot of other encumbrance that, you know, other friends have to deal with. And I think, you know, what I suppose it is, one of these moments should do, I suppose is, is, if they are putting people like me in more desperate straits, and they’ve had to face before, then, you know, potentially, that’s a healthy thing, you know, potentially forces people like me to go beyond verbal solidarity moments to to actual action. So, I think that there’s potentially some of the positives that, you know, some of the more activist related positives that come from moments of fracture like this, that come out of COVID. And potentially, you know, combined with Black Lives Matter and, and other other really poignant, you know, concerns at the moment where one is increasingly, you know, forced to you know, really acknowledge constantly, and rightly The, the layers of, of, you know, interdependence and privilege that, that really allow you to kind of live your life, you know, and I think that that’s potentially what why these things are really interrelated and, and how they force us to think about, you know, work life. You know, yeah, I think I think these are the kind of complex strains that something like COVID and then the movements that have have rightly risen up and during this period, yeah, how they intertwine.

Kiera Brew Kurec 6:31
Kind of shifting focus a little bit, we were wondering if you have been working on any projects at the moment?

Channon Goodwin 6:38
So I guess my, as, I guess, an artist who wrote who works in bureaucracies, primarily, I suppose, both their Bus Projects and with a new organization called Composite. I suppose my projects are sort of intertwined with that, with that work. So Bus Projects has moved into Collinwood Yards, just as I arrived back from a residency from the UK and, and sort of, and it’s been sort of in, we immediately opened and then closed, because of the restrictions, and then and then really tried to work out where to next from there. And, and so my project is both spread across working with my my colleagues around, you know, what, what Bus does in the, in the next 12 to 18 months, and how we, you know, aren’t, you know, complacent about what these these moments of these COVID moments are. So we’re kind of working on that. I guess, my personal practice, spread across that and also over in New organization called Composite, which is a moving image focused agency, which I think touches on a lot of my areas of interest around organization building, artist run models, and economic flow for artists. So Composite kind of comes out of both my residency in the UK and my interest in organizations that distribute Moving Image work and create kind of economic models for the remuneration of artists who work in, in video moving image. So interested in organizations like Lux, or Argos *(check this) or a whole range of organizations that have collection and distribution models built into their as some of their primary work. So I’m interested in like, how that yields kind of small scale screening rooms that are both ways to share and critique work and talk about work. But I’m really interested really in in the, in the economic models that can be brought to bear around that particular mode of practice, rather than just the default mode that I’ve experienced that Bus, which is obviously, you know, the displaying of video work in an installation environment or on a looping, you know, modes, I’m interested in kind of what, what models for what might what bespoke models for moving image artist’s moving Image work can be, can be brought to bear in Australia and really helped to, I suppose, aggregate a lot of work that’s happening now and create, you know, deliberately tying that to an economic model that that remunerate artists rather than what Bus has you know, been doing, which is really trying to retrofit an organization that has some that has been invested in by artists. So trying to create an organization from from, you know, not not from scratch, because I’m quite inspired by the Australian video archive, which Anne Marsh and Matthew Perkins and others sort of started over 10 years ago. So I’m interested in those kind of models, but but, you know, establishing a certain kind of organization from the outset that’s about kind of channelling you know, economic flow to to practitioners as a as a direct, you know, ambition. So that’s what I’m working on. That may not seem like an artwork, but that’s kind of it.

Kiera Brew Kurec 9:51
That sounds so interesting! Have you found that you created a new routine while you’re in isolation, or now as we emerge from isolation?

Channon Goodwin 10:02
I think I think I’m terrible with routine. And it’s, it’s, it’s it probably stems from, you know, I started trying to be an trying to be an animator out of out of high school and, and I just knew, like I didn’t last long in the industry, I mean, I got fired pretty quickly after a certain amount of time, and effort, but that was really because of the discipline that I that I know others have around these moments, whether it’s whether it’s work I, I find try to find honest ways to to use my own, I guess, modes of work so, so not routines, because I’m quite and undisciplined. But I do, I do try to realize that what I can do is be kind of like, dogged in the pursuit of a of a particular aim. So I may not, you know, I may not be good at building a brick wall, but I can move a lot of bricks. So it’s like, they’ll be that kind of metaphor that’s like, I’ll work all day and all night, moving these bricks over as long as someone else can help me order them in a proper way that doesn’t fall over immediately. So I think there’s something like like that, which is I found, I’ve tried to just kind of continue to work through this moment of disruption in a way that is pretty constant. So but it doesn’t follow any particular mode of discipline. Yeah, just this the same old grind really. And, I wish it was otherwise, because I probably double do work in a way just because of how messy I am. I do admire others, though, who do find it time to actually, you know, rebalance their work. So they’ve actually now realized that they can take half of their day to walk around the park, and then they come home from work. And that’s, you know, they can finally realise what we know, and what research is borne out in terms of Australia being unproductive because we overwork, right? So like people are now realizing, oh, well, actually, if I can find a balance that mean that I’m not overworking, I suddenly super productive. So I’m still caught in that the classic Australian overwork and under productivity. (Laughter)

Nick Breedon 12:08
You touched on some of your, you know, thoughts around what’s happening at the moment. But is there anything that you’re specifically worried about during this time?

Channon Goodwin 12:17
I suppose it’s the, you know, if normality wasn’t so great, you know, and I’m talking about this in a number of fronts. So COVID, is as a point of reflection for, for many people who haven’t been required to confront you know, what ordinary life really is. And I’m doing that with inverted commas, like, so, if for many people deal with ordinary business of life is, is not comfortable is not sustainable. It’s kind of like, I suppose a return to that or a complacency around what return to normality is, I think many people are saying this, you know, which is, which is that return to business, as usual is not is not the end point here. And, you know, it’s a slipping away of, of the potential for for radical change, you know, this, this has happened in the past, of course, with with various things. And I think, for many people who’ve who’ve, you know, like me, who haven’t, you know, really participated in those major movements, whether that was Occupy Wall Street, whether these kind of things that have happened in my, my lifetime, and they’ve evolved kind of white people like me, you know, these kind of movements that have, you know, that many, many of us have participated in, you know, these moments have, have slipped away again, and we’ve gone back to because of our comfortableness, potentially, we’ve gone back to business as usual. So, so I think that that’s what I’m nervous about is a slipping away if the potential for for, you know, disruptive and permanent change,

Kiera Brew Kurec 13:40
and is there anything you’re hopeful for?

Channon Goodwin 13:44
Well, I guess I’m hopeful for the opposite, right. So I’m hopeful for the for the fact that these movements that are not led by people like me, are making that change, you know, the demands that are being made in various kind of movements at the moment that have been, you know, have taken place during this COVID period. You know, they do have the potential foot for to make that change. And, whether that’s the kind of, you know, the changing police funding into community, community safety mechanisms, you know, these kind of things are really happening in various places. And I think, you know, for me, though, those kind of are examples that that these kind of disruptive moments, they can they can lead to significant change. And I think, yeah, that’s kind of what I’m hopeful for is that these movements can lead to change and that that happens during a moment of disruption when business as usual it’s not, you know, is not present.

Kiera Brew Kurec 14:39
Thank you for sharing those. Do you have a public Instagram or website that people can find out more about you and more about your work?

Channon Goodwin 14:48
Obviously, at Bus Projects, you can see all of this stuff we do in terms of organizational work and @fellow_worker is my so that’s and on the web, and @busprojects on Instagram fellow workers is my Instagram, and generally do occasional things there. Go along. Um, and yeah, and so I suppose they’re the places to see what we do. Yeah. Yeah,

Kiera Brew Kurec 15:12
Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us today.

Channon Goodwin 15:16
Thank you.

Nick Breedon 15:18

Channon Goodwin 15:19

Nick Breedon 15:23
We respectfully acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we have recorded and pay respect to elders past, present and emerging and the elders of the land on which this podcast reaches you. today. We extend that respect to all First Nations people listening and acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded.

Kiera Brew Kurec 15:39
How are you today has been generously supported by the city of Melbourne’s quick response grants. Follow us at @propracpodcast on Instagram or email us at If you haven’t already, please subscribe on whatever you listen to podcast on,

Nick Breedon 15:55
please stay in touch. We’d love to hear what you’re up to as well.

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Pro Prac acknowledges City of Melbourne’s generous contribution to How Are You Today? through their Quick Response grants program