How Are You Today – Eugenia Lim

Image credit: Leah Jing

Eugenia Lim

How Are You Today – Episode 20

Instagram handle @eugeniuslim


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

Nick Breedon 0:23

Eugenia Lim 0:24
Hi, How are you guys?

Nick Breedon 0:25

Kiera Brew Kurec 0:26
We are well, how are you today?

Eugenia Lim 0:28
It’s Friday. I’m looking forward to I don’t know doing not very much this weekend. It’s been like, it’s, it’s kind of hectic at my house. It’s three people living in one space and never actually any silence. So I’m looking for quiet time.

Kiera Brew Kurec 0:46
Are you finding in while we have limited movement that your weekends and weekdays do you feel different?

Eugenia Lim 0:57
Yeah, actually, Saturday is my studio day. So I have, it’s actually something I really look forward to. It’s actually a work day, but it’s sort of my own time. So it’s weird, like the other days sort of bleed into each other because I’ve got a six year old kid who’s here and needs constant attention. So Saturday, sort of Yeah, there is a bit of a split, but then I guess the rest is just like, you know, days are just rolling into each other and months are just disappearing.

Nick Breedon 1:31
Would you mind sharing with us how the pandemic has changed things for you and your family?

Eugenia Lim 1:34
Oh, God, I think it’s like radically shifted everything. I mean, I think that for me, ever since becoming a Mum, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I guess the battles of intersectional feminism are happening like on a daily basis in the home, and maybe become even more illuminated since locked down. Because just simple, simple, but fundamental things like the division of labour, and, you know, social reproduction, all of this stuff is like, it’s stuff that you know, we’re negotiating every day, every minute. So I feel like that stuff, like all of that stuff that we sort of think is out in the world is actually very much in the home, which I guess is Yeah, what what feminists have been kind of telling us for a long time. So yeah, like, that stuff is, is big. And I think, I don’t know, probably just how amazing teachers and educators and childcare workers are. And how probably ill equipped most parents are to like to fill in those gaps. Yeah, but I think it’s radically shifted, I think thinking a lot about priorities. And what’s important, and what can be stripped away as well, has been a big part of pandemic time.

Kiera Brew Kurec 3:09
You mentioned Saturday is your studio day. Are you working on any specific projects at the moment?

Eugenia Lim 3:15
I am. I’m working on a big performance project with Aphids. The company that I run with Mish Grigor and Lara Thoms and we’re working on a big performance project, which was supposed to happen this year before everything turned to shit. But it’ll happen next year in around this time next year. So I’m kind of in the scripting phase for that and just doing a lot of research and thinking. The works about, about labour and about the gig economy and about work in the digital age. So it feels increasingly relevant. Because yeah, work and life and home. It’s just so one in the same right now. So the work is taking on like, many more inflections, which is really interesting. I’m in the middle of it so I still don’t really know what it all means.

Nick Breedon 4:13
How has your routine at home developed since the first lockdown?

Eugenia Lim 4:18
Hmm, I know It’s weird that we’re in a second one now. I mean, I think we all thought that that first lockdown was like, yep, we’re gonna go hardcore. We’re in it we’ll you know the whole flattening the curve thing will crush it all of this language in the media and politicians about like this war that we’re in is weird to see the military kind of angle. But now we find ourselves back here again. So it’s strange. I think there’s a strange sort of resignation to it. I don’t know if you guys feel that but it feels like okay, we’ve kind of done this before. It’s not so alien in the way that it was the first time I think that was like a really discombobulating time. I don’t know about you guys, but the first month at least was like, What is this world? Like I can’t deal with this. This time? Yeah, it sort of feels like we kind of know. Yeah, there are things that I can kind of shift and change, especially with the like, family home-school situation like I, I think, for me, this time, it’s just more about trying to enjoy the time somehow and like, enjoy each other’s time because it’s a rare moment, I guess, in the pandemic, to to really reassess how we deal with time, like how we actually maybe try and fight against this idea of linear time and productivity that we usually experience in everyday life. Because watching, there is great Doco, which David Gulpilill recounts his time up north, like where he’s from up in the outback. And he was sort of talking about how, you know, for the Yolngu like he’s people, all they have is time, like they have nothing but time. Whereas in the white world there’s never enough time. And I guess I’ve been thinking about that a lot and thinking about how to try and sort of build that into, you know, my own, I guess my own art practice, but also family time and trying to kind of, I don’t think I’ve solved it, like I think I still feel time poor but intention is there to kind of just ……. and take time right now, when we have this kind of pause, it feels important.

Kiera Brew Kurec 6:41
Is there anything that you’re currently worried about?

Eugenia Lim 6:44
There’s lots of stuff I’m worried about right now. I guess I’m most worried about the fact that when we come through this, which may not be for a long, long time, I mean, I feel like the pandemic is going to be with us you know, possibly, for at least the next few years, depending on what happens with the vaccine. I guess I’m worried most that the world order will just kind of solidify into what it already is this sort of, this time of like almost like a new Cold War where, you know, national borders, and xenophobia and racism are just kind of coalesce, you know, like, I feel like this pandemic moment, for a lot of kind of populist or hard left, sorry, hard, right, being left and right, mixed up hard, right politicians is a moment to sort of, yeah, like really try and shut other people out and sort of try and lock down their citizens and force them into really oppressive regimes. I guess I’m thinking of like Brazil and Russia and the States as well. Like, it’s really scary what’s happening over there. So I really worry that instead of kind of being a moment where, like I spoke about before, we’re like, actually reassessing our priorities and what’s important to us as human beings. The people that are in power, are kind of using as a time to Yeah, just really solidify the inequities that are already present in society. That’s what I really worry about. So I think for me, during lockdown, I was really, I guess, kind of watching what’s happening with Black Lives Matters. And just the increasing awareness around incarceration, Aboriginal incarceration here in Australia is feeling pretty helpless about what to do. So I guess for me during lockdown, I’ve been trying to like, yeah, turn this immobility and kind of inability to kind of be outside into something that’s productive. So I started a, like a solidarity poster campaign, where I’ve taken like three images that I made for this Arts House commission, so public art commission at North Melbourne Town Hall, into poster works that people can purchase and the money’s all going to Pay The Rent and to Seed Mob. So to Aboriginal lead organizations that are focused on you know, I guess, Indigenous rights and agency and climate justice. So I’m trying to like even though this time feels, yeah, really difficult and pretty oppressive. I feel like there are still ways we can change things or like shift focus in our own like, hyperlocal context like I’ve just been thinking about so much how I can be a better First Nations ally here locally, in a way that hopefully you know, I say, yeah, I’ve been I’ve been reading Clare Land’s Decolonising Solidarity and it’s been making me think so much about like, just what I can do here that will hopefully kind of, you know, put into practice, even in a really small way. Some sort of counterbalance to all of the stuff that I was just talking about all of that fear of like, you know, oppression and sort of solidifying of power. I guess there are ways from our homes even in lockdown, especially as artists, you know, we’re pretty good at kind of like, I don’t know, thinking about different ways to communicate and sort of work through problems, I guess. So that’s sort of been, I guess, I’ve been Yeah, intellectually, and like, existentially pretty freaked out as everybody is, but I’m trying to kind of, I guess, through practice or whatever, just find ways to, yeah, to kind of work through them. There is a really great quote by Mark Fisher, who’s a UK philosopher who passed away. But he had this great saying, which was pessimism of emotion, optimism of action. And, like, I’ve been trying to kind of, it feels like a good mantra.

Nick Breedon 11:31
Speaking of optimism, would you mind sharing what you’re hopeful for at the moment?

Eugenia Lim 11:35
There does feel like there’s a will or an atmosphere to change and you know, whether that’s like, in our own, kind of like lefty bubble, it does feel like I guess, especially here in Australia, I mean, we’ve had a really tough year coming out of the devastations of the bush fires, and then straight into COVID. It feels like, you know, we started the year with a really difficult time, but like heightened awareness about how real climate change is and how like you can’t ignore it. How dry the country is, and how, I don’t know, just we live in this state of threat now. So I feel like that coupled with COVID times is just sort of, yeah, it’s making all of these issues of like, climate and social justice impossible to ignore, for everybody. So I feel like I’m hopeful that people can see all of these, I don’t know, these problematics that we have in terms of class, like who’s out on the street, and who’s delivering our food, who’s still teaching, who’s working in hospitals, like it’s quite stark, like, even if you are lucky enough, I mean, we’re privileged in you know, right now to be able to isolate in our apartment, but even so you can ignore, like, the fact that, you know, there are people out there working, especially as case numbers are going up. So I guess I’m hopeful that, you know, this new visibility and new kind of recognition of like, work, like work done by, you know, people of colour, migrant workers, undocumented workers, all of this stuff is sort of much more on people’s radar now. So I hope that with that knowledge, just comes like greater respect, or greater kind of awareness of like, what it takes to keep society going, and hopefully, you know, with with the work that I mentioned before, that I’m working on, it is about like, you know, illuminating these ideas further so that people can’t ignore, I guess, the supply chain. So like, you know, all of the hidden costs that is usually behind all the stuff that we take for granted. So I guess I’m hopeful for that. And then what next? I don’t know.

Kiera Brew Kurec 14:11
It kind of leads back to what you were saying right at the beginning of the visibility of unseen labour becoming more and more prominent -and the intersectionality that revolves around that. And yeah, I think I think I’m seeing that a lot amongst both my community, but it does seem to be happening outside of my bubble as well and which is it is really hopeful to see that those conversations are existing in other areas, too.

Eugenia Lim 14:49

Kiera Brew Kurec 14:51
Before we wrap up, do you have a public Instagram or website that you’re happy to share with the listeners?

Eugenia Lim 15:00
It’s just and if you go to that page, and you go to the news section, I think the latest post is about the solidarity poster campaign. So I’d love listeners to kind of like, get amongst it. And my Instagram is it’s @eugeniuslim So it’s a silly play on words that I got given I think at uni, but um, you can find me on that as well.

Kiera Brew Kurec 15:26
Great! Thank you so much for speaking with us this morning.

Thanks for the call, guys.

Nick Breedon 15:34
See you. Later.

Eugenia Lim 15:37

Kiera Brew Kurec 15:37

Nick Breedon 15:41
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 15:57
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 16:13
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