Tag Archives: Three three and three

3, 3 and 3: Pearse Buchanan, marine scientist

The traditional divide between the arts and the sciences is, like so many divides, artificial and arbitrary. Many creative artists draw their inspiration from science, and the sciences attract—and produce—creative minds, which is just as well, as it’s going to take unprecedented feats of creativity on the part of scientists if we are to hope for the future of our world.

Photo by Pearse Buchanan

Photo by Pearse Buchanan

Enter this month’s 3, 3 and 3 guest, marine scientist Pearse Buchanan. I first met Pearse some years ago, when he was still studying Marine Science at the University of Tasmania. He has since gained a First-Class Honours degree at Murdoch University, Western Australia, worked as a volunteer in several important environmental studies, undertaken contract projects, and is currently an expeditionary scientist with The Clipperton Project. His present role involves collaborating with research organisations around the world, developing scientific programs for various expeditions in a number of countries, participating in expeditions and contributing through community outreach.

He also (when time allows) plays guitar and writes poetry—no divide there!

Welcome, Pearse.

3 things I love about what I do

1. I love the diversity of projects and science I get to involve myself with. I started out by volunteering (some would call it being exploited) alongside PhD students during my degree in Tasmania, and through this I managed to dive in some of the most beautiful spots around that wonderful island. The seed that was sown then grew into taking on my own projects in third year and in honours, where I took a particular interest in the mysterious microscopic world of plankton. Now, fresh out of university and working with The Clipperton Project, an international non-profit environmental educational initiative, I get to research, plan and undertake marine science in so many different programs and within so many specialties that it makes my head spin!

Some phytoplankton of cool temperate south-east Tasmania. Many of these are warm water species that have been carried south by the ever stronger East Australian Current. (A µg is 1/100th of a millimetre.) Photos by Pearse Buchanan

Some phytoplankton of cool temperate south-east Tasmania. Many of these are warm water species that have been carried south by the ever stronger East Australian Current. (A µg is 1/1000th of a millimetre.) Photos by Pearse Buchanan

2. I said that the diversity of science made my head spin, but the quantity and diversity of travel give me vertigo. I’m currently working and living in Mexico but by the end of the year will have worn my lab coat in Spain, subarctic Scotland, Uruguay, the Falkland Islands, subantarctic South Georgia and Gibraltar, with a little trip to Cuba to add some flavour. But, while this is undoubtedly a privilege, it is the form of travel that really makes it special for me. In all of these places, The Clipperton Project utilises a sailboat to deliver inspiring workshops with an international team of scientists and artists that crew the vessel. The very notion of exploring these environments using the wind in the sails above, with the swell lapping the sleek sides of our floating laboratory beneath, makes both my heart and scientific mind soar.

3. Even more so than the travel, it is the people involved in my job that are the true privilege. In the three months that I have worked for The Clipperton Project, I have met people that I will remember forever. One once said to me that ‘more than just sailors, we are sailors of life’, and this philosophy resonates deeply with me. Spinoza thought that to accumulate friends who share mutual wisdoms represented the highest form of happiness. It could be that he was right.

3 places I’d like to visit or revisit

1. Apparently, as a non-Muslim, I cannot visit Mecca, which is incredibly disappointing. But I have been fascinated by the Islamic faith for some time, probably since 2001. In recent years, though, this has begun to gain traction due to a number of reasons: a trip to northern India in 2011; the simultaneously otherworldly and unmistakably human call to prayer I heard in Kuala Lumpur; and a book of poems given to me by my father by Rumi, a twelfth-century Sufi mystic, poet and philosopher. Pictures of Mecca give me goosebumps. Footage of hundreds of thousands of people kneeling and praying as one never fails to move me. I think I’ll read the Koran next.

2. I was lucky enough to travel to Antarctica in 2012 as a research assistant aboard the Aurora Australis. My job was to study the planktonic community of the sea ice of East Antarctica, and I spent two months living on the ship but working on the sea ice for various stretches of time throughout. Honestly, while I was there I actually felt a little disappointed, or perhaps challenged, in what I found. I had close-up meetings with penguins every other day, witnessed the most beautiful and the longest sunsets and sunrises I have ever seen, and caught snowflakes with friends. But I think the desolation of the place got to me, making the experience uncomfortable. Now, however, with time to digest the journey, it has gotten under my skin, and I catch myself occasionally daydreaming about it, and even sometimes planning how I’m going to get down there again.

Emperor Penguins are fascinated by these strange, colourful beings doing strange things with the ice. I wish my office now was graced by their waddling presence. Photo by Ruhi Humphries

Emperor Penguins are fascinated by these strange, colourful beings doing strange things with the ice. I wish my office now was graced by their waddling presence. Photo by Ruhi Humphries

3. India is another place that I daydream about. In 2011 I travelled to northern India and, unlike my Antarctic experience, loved every minute of it. One particular place I visited was Manali, a small city nestled at the foot of the Himalayas in the province of Himachal Pradesh. The place, dare I say it as a scientist, was magical. My favourite place in the city was a Hindu temple that housed natural hot springs. It was free, so that anyone, rich or poor, religious or non-religious, could benefit from the heat of the springs. This is pretty important throughout the winter and considering that many people don’t have access to running hot water. You could see the positive effect on people as they left. Also, I quite enjoyed the curiosity of the locals, who were unsure what to make of my pale Scottish skin.

3 favourite natural phenomena

1. When I was in Antarctica I came across something I had never heard of before. A parhelion, otherwise known as a Sun Dog (apparently), is a halo that surrounds the sun and is caused by tiny ice crystals that form in cirrus clouds high in the atmosphere. They can be observed anywhere, from tropics to poles, but their prevalence and intensity are certainly greater in the poles. They were very beautiful and form a strong part of the Antarctica I remember.

2. I was introduced to ocean bioluminescence in a truly wonderful way in the temperate waters of Tasmania. I was diving at night in a shallow protected bay and noticed, despite the brightness of my torchlight, the rapid movement of fish in the corner of my eye that caused a bright spark of blue. I moved my hands out of the light and, sure enough, my hands were engulfed in a storm of the same fluorescence. This phenomenon is best articulated in the film Life of Pi, although exaggerated. I strongly recommend that at least once in your life you go for a night dive during a bloom of bioluminescent plankton, turn off all lights, and just flail about in the dark. But you won’t be dark for long. You’ll be engulfed in neon blue!

The beautiful bioluminescence of plankton that never ceases to be special. Photo by Doug Perrine

The beautiful bioluminescence of plankton that never ceases to be special. Photo by Doug Perrine

3. And once again I find myself turning towards the poles! Brinicles are just plain creepy. Sea ice is not solid, but in fact is extremely porous, like a sponge. Within the floating mass of sea ice are many tiny rivers in which brine exists, a fluid super-saturated with salt that is exuded from the ice as it forms (because sea ice is fresh). The higher density of brine caused by its super-salt-saturation makes it sink, and as it comes into contact with the cold water beneath the ice it freezes. This process eventually creates a brinicle, or a brine icicle, that slowly grows towards the sea floor, not unlike the formation of a tornado. Once in contact with the sea floor, the creepy brinicle begins to freeze and kill all living creatures it touches. The ice spreads out in a circle from the touch-down point and, because of its slow formation, first entraps those it touches and then proceeds, ever so slowly, to engulf them. If you want to see it in action, I recommend the BBC series Frozen Planet.


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3, 3 and 3: Debi O’Hehir, visual artist

IMG_00353, 3 and 3 celebrates and showcases the lives and work of creative people by inviting them to talk about some of the things they love. This month I introduce my first international guest, Irish visual artist Debi O’Hehir.

I first met Debi in 2011, when she and I were both in residence at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, a multi-arts residential workplace in County Monaghan, Ireland. Debi’s work—arrestingly beautiful pen and ink drawings, large bronze sculptures, and figures in wire—takes as its principal subject the horse. But, as I soon discovered, the mercurial energy and intense vulnerability evoked in Debi’s horses speak as much of the human subject who creates them as they do of her animal subject. Last year she also produced a beautiful series featuring human figures—swimmers and dancers.

Debi O’Hehir was born in England, grew up in Kinvara, County Galway, and studied at Galway College of Art. Her work is held in collections in Ireland, Europe and the United States, and she exhibits regularly at the Northcote Gallery in London, as well as at various galleries in Ireland. In 2013 she was a featured artist at the Galway Arts Festival, with a solo exhibition at Norman Villa Gallery, and also took part in a group show, Open Ground, at the Clifden Arts Festival.

She currently lives and works in a wild, remote area of County Leitrim, in the west of Ireland, where I had the great pleasure of visiting her in late 2012.

Over to Debi…

3 things I love about what I do

1. I love that I have vistas of time in which to work (years ago, I worked as a chef and had limited hours in my studio). Being a full-time artist is perilous financially, but this is more than compensated for by the lack of workaday concerns and distractions—other than attending to the needs of my beloved dog, Wilco.

Back Camera

2. I love that I am rarely bored. I am fortunate to have some facility in both sculpture and painting, so if I feel myself becoming bored or just bogged down in one medium I can change both pace and discipline. Painting for me is instantaneous; once I put the ink down on paper, it cannot be erased and must be completed in one sitting, akin to what I imagine writing a poem might be like. Sculpture is more methodical and meditative—also more time-consuming—perhaps like writing and plotting a novel. Boredom rarely strikes when you are constantly challenged, and with every painting or sculpture I attempt I am certainly challenged!

All the bright horses (ink on paper)

All the bright horses (ink on paper)

3. Solitude is my other abiding love about being an artist. It suits me well. I feel I need it creatively and, being naturally self-conscious, I never have to worry about feeling exposed or watched until I am ready to exhibit. By that time, I have already let go of the work and also of my need for solitude.

3 places I’d like to visit or revisit

1. I spent four years of my early childhood in East Anglia, England. Four years felt like a lifetime, then. My sister, father and I lived on a remote farm, where my father had found a job as farm manager. To me, it was a magical unexplored wilderness. We children had total freedom to spend all day in nature, and I harboured an ambition (due entirely to a subscription to National Geographic) to be an explorer. It was here that my fascination with horses began. A local horseman kept some of his horses on our land and I spent an enormous amount of time sitting on a fence, just watching them with an attentiveness bordering on the obsessive. My father always said that no passion you have is ever wasted, and I have used the horse as the primary subject in my work. We left East Anglia—that place both my sister and I recall as symbolising the halcyon days of our childhood—more than 40 years ago, and it is a place I long to revisit.

Pushkin (bronze)

Pushkin (bronze)

2. London was the first major city I both loved and lived in. I moved there from the west of Ireland at 25. At the time, it had everything I was excited by—music and art. In contrast to the then slow-paced Ireland, London had an electrifying energy that I found exhilarating. In its galleries I found enormous and much-needed inspiration. I also found, or was found by, a gallery. The Northcote Gallery, which is still my gallery, allowed me to take my first faltering steps towards exhibiting my work professionally. Today it provides a link to London, a place I need to experience at least once a year, travelling from the remoteness where I now live to a metropolis.

3. I would absolutely love to visit Australia. I first became aware of it through avid childhood reading of Elyne Mitchell’s Silver Brumby books, then later through the novels of Patrick White and the paintings of Sydney Nolan, especially his Ned Kelly series. Since then I’ve read many Australian novelists (my recent favourites include Yvette Walker, Stephen Daisley and Amanda Curtin), and feel very drawn to visit, seduced, it seems, by Australia’s amazing literature, both past and present.

3 favourite artists

1. Marlene Dumas is an artist I feel indebted to. Like me, she uses ink and water on paper; unlike me, she makes unfailingly spectacular, seemingly effortless work that is both powerful and beautiful in its rawness and immediacy. She once said in an interview that she became a visual artist because she couldn’t play guitar and be in a rock’n’roll band, a longing I too once had!

2. I also feel indebted to Deborah Butterfield, mainly because she uses the horse as her subject. I love her welded scrap metal horse sculptures for their total lack of sentimentality, and I love that through the material she uses the beauty of the horse is present but never overwhelms the work.

3. I love the American abstract expressionist painters, and if I had to choose one today, it would be Robert Motherwell. As a figurative artist, I feel especially drawn to abstraction and feel that if I had to live with a painting long term, I would choose an abstract.


RIP my dear friend Debi O’Hehir, d. 1 October 2015
RIP Wilco, d. 28 June 2014
For enquiries about Debi’s beautiful work, contact Gavin Lavelle, Lavelle Art Gallery, Clifden, Eire. Proceeds from sales benefit the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig,
in accordance with Debi’s wishes


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3, 3 and 3: Emily Mann, PWF program manager

This month’s 3, 3 and 3 guest is one of the busiest people in Perth right now.

Emily Mann (c) Scott Weir

Photograph © Scott Weir

Emily Mann is program manager of the Perth Writers Festival, which will be launched on 20 February, followed by a packed three-day program running through to 23 February. She has been hard at work since early 2013, developing a vibrant, exciting, thought-provoking program of writers with stories to tell and ideas to share. More than 100 local writers will be joined by some of the finest from elsewhere in Australia, among them Richard Flanagan, Anne Summers, Chris Womersley, Alexis Wright, Hannah Kent and Thomas Keneally. Overseas guests include Lionel Shriver,  Margaret Drabble, Martin Amis and this year’s Man Booker Prize winner, Eleanor Catton.

Emily worked at Sydney Writers’ Festival from 2008 to 2012, and she holds an MA Writing (Research) from the University of Technology, Sydney.

I’m thrilled that Emily was able to find time in her schedule to tell us about some of the things she loves.

3 things I love about what I do

1. The exposure to new books and authors
It goes without saying that I have a fantastic job for a booklover. It is a pleasure to read new works and to read beyond my usual tastes to find new and interesting authors and books. It is an even greater pleasure to be able to share new finds with others.

2. The audience
I enjoy watching people engage with writers’ festivals. I love to see friends sit down together and pore over a program, circling events and comparing their schedules. It is heartening to sit in audiences and see people deep in concentration or writing furiously in notebooks. There is nothing like the excited chatter of an audience coming out from a dark auditorium into the daylight after a major session. The audience lies at the heart of what we do.

3. The intensity of festival life
Working on literary festivals is quite unlike any other work cycle. Every month of the programming and planning process is another season, with the pressure building until the event. When the actual festival occurs it often feels like the eye of a hurricane passing over you. Then, once it has ended, the clean-up efforts begin and eventually you are back at square one, wondering if you could ever find the stamina to repeat the cycle. You always do.

3 places I’d like to visit or revisit

1. Paris
I once spent a hardscrabble year living in Paris about ten years ago. It was a brilliant, enervating and dramatic existence. I haven’t returned to Paris since, and I would like to return again soon—this time with money.

2. New Zealand
I am currently planning a trip to New Zealand following this festival. I would like to lose myself somewhere cool, green and damp for a while. I’ll be taking Karl Ove Knausgaard’s A Death in the Family and A Man in Love, both of which I have been holding off reading until I have an uninterrupted stretch of time available.

3. Sea
I love seagoing narratives, both fictional and factual. I am equally enamoured by Melville’s Moby Dick as I am by Junger’s The Perfect Storm, Shackleton’s South and Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki. I have often wondered what kind of hold these tales of man versus sea have over me. Perhaps it’s the overcoming of adversity, the testing of the self against the elements. I do wonder if I am an armchair adventurer: I guess I should take myself to sea to find out.

3 favourite festival experiences

1. My first writers’ festival event
My first experience of a writers’ festival remains one of my strongest memories. I snuck out of work one day and went down to Walsh Bay in Sydney to see a session in a very early Sydney Writers’ Festival. Michelle de Kretser was speaking on The Rose Grower. I took a seat in a crowded room and listened to a novelist talk at length about her work. She was not talking through a journalist or writing about her own work in a stylised and edited article. She was revealing her thoughts and experiences of writing a novel, live and unadulterated on a stage. It was exhilarating and I was hooked.

2. Shaking James Wood’s hand
I rarely ask for an autograph from authors; however, this year at a festival I had the opportunity to meet a man who is like a god to me: the critic James Wood. Not only did he sign my battered and dog-eared copy of How Fiction Works, he also shook my hand. I confess to being completely star-struck by authors whose work I have held on to closely over the years.

3. Freedom of speech
For me, a personal favourite festival experience is people exercising their right to freedom of speech. It could be an audience member querying a panellist, or two artists challenging one another in conversation. Opinions obviously differ and writers’ festivals are a democratic space where people can voice their opinions constructively, hopefully without lapsing into offence. I relish these moments because they actively demonstrate the importance and the need for writers’ festivals today, and show how keen people are to engage with the larger conversations about our lives.

Browse or download the Perth Writers Festival program and the list of authors here.

The festival program runs 20–23 February 2014,
on the grounds of UWA.



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3, 3 and 3 news: AACTA award for Ash Gibson Greig

Congratulations to 3, 3 and 3 guest Ash Gibson Greig, who today won an AACTA (Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts) award as part of the Best Sound in a Documentary team (with Ric Curtin, Glenn Martin, Ash Charlton and Chris Bollard) for the ABC1 documentary Desert War. Great work, Ash!


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3, 3 and 3: Ian Parmenter, TV cook/writer/broadcaster

Happy New Year, everyone, and may 2014 bring you new joys, new and exciting challenges, new ways of looking up and looking down.

DSCN3932My first 3, 3 3 guest for 2014 is Ian Parmenter, OAM, who defies any neat label describing what he does, has done and might well do!

He is possibly best known as the presenter/producer of the award-winning ABCTV series Consuming Passions, which was aired in Australia and 15 other countries between 1992 and 2002. He is also a noted food, wine and travel writer and broadcaster; founding Festival Director of food/wine/beer festival Tasting Australia; and the author of 12 recipe collections (most recently All Consuming Passions) and an award-winning collection of memoirs, Sheer Bottled Bliss.

Last year I had the pleasure of visiting Ian in Margaret River, the food and wine capital of Western Australia, where he now lives. He has certainly made his mark on the community since the seachange move from Perth—for example, as a founder member of the Margaret River Food Group, which established the first farmers’ markets in WA’s South West. (If you’re visiting the region, the Margaret River markets on Saturday morning are a must!) As WA ambassador for the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, he was also instrumental in establishing the Margaret River Primary School’s kitchen garden program.

So over now to Ian, and some of the things he loves.

3 things I love about what I do

IP TA glass_00011. I love spreading the word about real food. This has happened as a result of presenting Consuming Passions on ABCTV for 10 years, which allowed me to explore food and food culture overseas, as well as in Australia, and enabled me to meet the best chefs and producers. More recently I’ve been working with Hollywood Private Hospital in an attempt to change hospital food. It’s worked. Our Reinventing the Meal project has led to the hospital being voted best in Australia for its food and food delivery by an independent organisation, Press Ganey.

2. The success of Consuming Passions also has allowed me to spend more time on cookery, something that I’ve been doing now for almost six—yes, six—decades. I started in my mother’s kitchen, then learned more from our Belgian housekeeper when we lived in Brussels, and although I’ve never trained as a chef, I’ve spent plenty of time cooking and eating. It’s long been my passion. In fact, I’ve worked out that I’m coming up to the day when I will have consumed 75,000 meals (not including the odd Cherry Ripe from the hotel mini-bar). Frankly, I think I enjoy preparing food as much as eating it.

3. I started out as a journalist before going into TV production. In recent years I have gone back to writing for newspapers and magazines, as well as doing photography. Also in recent times I’ve wound back my event management activities and public appearances, enabling me to spend more time travelling with my partner, Ann, than with a bunch of workmates, lovely though they are… And I get real pleasure from putting together stories with pictures.

3 places I’d like to visit or revisit

1. France. It is said that one should never return to a place where one had ‘the best time’. To this I say: pish and tosh. It doesn’t matter how many times I visit France, I simply adore the country. Paris is my favourite city, and while I think there are plenty of places within and outside the country that do better food, I find the culture irresistible. Mind you, I think it helps that I speak French fluently. Although England was the place of my birth, and where I spent most of my formative years, I’ve always felt more at home in France, perhaps because I have Huguenot (and possibly Basque) in my blood.


2. Crete. I spent four weeks there this year. What a fabulous island, with a great history. We did a two-week archaeology and gastronomy tour with two fabulous guides: Heinrich Hall, a German academic with an Irish accent (don’t ask), and a Cretan Adonis called Vangelis (seriously). Despite the heat, HH always wore the same clothes: corduroy velvet trousers, sports jacket with leather elbows, lace-up shoes. Twinning archaeology with gastronomy was a very good call, since I have a low tolerance threshold for sarcophaguses. We spent two weeks in the tiny village of Douliana, inland and away from the tourist traps, and at a perfect time of year, Greek Easter, which lasts a week. We felt part of the village and were invited to no fewer than three Greek Easter family lunches. Forget Greek weddings; this is the real deal. The invitation we accepted was from a family of winemakers, who made really fabulous wine, which they were selling for $7 a bottle. We made so many really good friends that we’re going back there.

3. Spain. In particular northern Spain—Basque country on one side, where you find San Sebastian on the Atlantic coast, and Catalonia on the other, home of Barcelona (or, if you prefer, Bar-thay-lona in Spanish but not, apparently, in Catalan), and, between them, the wine-growing region of Rioja (pronounced Ree-ocka). Not only are the food and wine superb but so is the architecture, old and new. Add to that the region’s music, which is to be discovered everywhere in the cities. Walking the back streets of Barcelona, I heard what I thought was the sound of a CD being played in someone’s apartment. Rounding a corner, I discovered it to be a busker sitting on the steps of an old church, playing a Mozart horn concerto backed by a recorded orchestral backing track—a kind of upscale karaoke. Simply brilliant. And of course a walking tour of San Sebastian tapas bars—called Pinxtos bars—is absolutely the best way to enjoy an evening.

3 favourite ingredients

(Foods that contribute to dishes rather than stand-alone favourite foods, which include crab, soft French cheeses, and homemade vanilla ice-cream.)

34 degrees South olives 61. Olive oil. There is only one kind of olive oil and that’s cold-pressed. Forget terminology such as pure, light, lite (aaaargh!); only what we commonly call extra-virgin is the real deal. I use around a litre a week and it’s produced by my next-door neighbour, Sharon Dunford of 34 Degrees South. It’s beautiful. About the only dish I don’t use it in is mayonnaise, because I find it too strongly flavoured.

2. Chicken. I find this the most versatile of meats. I never use breast and wonder why restaurants do so. Thigh is much better, easier to prepare correctly without drying out, and I think has a better texture. I also buy chicken necks and frames for stock. A regular kitchen occupation on Saturday is making really good stock, which I don’t believe can be made with just vegetables and herbs (sorry vegetarians!).

3. Chocolate. There is a saying that strength is defined as the ability to break a bar of chocolate into several pieces…and then eat only one piece. I’m not just a chocophile; I love including it in my homemade ice-creams, and a 70% dark chocolate is just perfect in the Belgian dessert Dame Blanche (white lady): vanilla ice-cream topped with hot chocolate sauce (including Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur) and toasted nuts. OMG, so good.

More from Ian Parmenter:

Regular contributions to Selector magazine
Profile article in Life Choices
Many recipes on YouTube


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3, 3 and 3: Ash Gibson Greig, music composer

b303_AshGG1This month’s 3, 3 and 3 guest is Perth-based composer Ash Gibson Greig, who specialises in music for film, television and theatre.

You might not have heard his name, but chances are you’ve heard Ash’s music. His work for television has screened nationally and internationally—some fifty programs or series including Who Do You Think You Are (Australian series), Jandamarra’s War, Comic Book Heroes, Desert War, Yagan, Singapore 1942, Murdoch, Leaky Boat, Jack the Ripper: Prime Suspect, SAS: The Search for Warriors, Death of the Megabeasts, The Secret History of Eurovision, Time Trackers, Desperately Seeking Doctors and The Australian Wine Revolution.

He has also composed and produced scores for a string of award-winning short films, as well as several features, and is well known for his work in the Perth theatre scene.

Ash’s name appeared in yesterday’s announcement of the 2013 AACTA (AFI) Award nominees, for the documentary Desert War—his third AACTA nomination. He has received multiple nominations for WA Screen Awards, and APRA/Australian Guild of Screen Composers awards, recently winning a WA Screen Award for Best Original Music (longform) for Jandamarra’s War. He has also been the recipient of a WA Screen Award (Excellence in Craft—Music Composition) for Gallipoli Submarine, an Australian Guild of Screen Composers Award (Best Music, Short Film) for Iron Bird and a WA Screen Award (Best Score) for the short film Boxing Day.

Ash is one of the busiest people I know, and I’m delighted he’s taken time to talk about some of the things he loves.

3 things I love about what I do

1. It’s easy to take for granted the freedom that my occupation affords me. My wife always says, ‘You have such a good life, being able to get up whenever you want’, which is true, but of course it doesn’t take into account that when I have deadlines (which is regularly) every day of the week becomes a work day!

2. One of my favourite parts of the process is making final changes. I’ve gone through the procrastination while trying to start, the potential stress of first feedback, and the few/many notes and changes following that. Now it’s time to take it in as a whole, tweak what I need to, and cross off the final couple of notes that mean the director and producers are happy. It’s also bittersweet, as it might be one of the last times I have to listen to a score that I’ve spent quite a lot of time on before it disappears into the annals of projects past.

3. Hearing a score or song performed by musicians or singers is also a huge buzz. It doesn’t happen often for me, as I usually create my scores on a computer (augmented by some soloists), but the times that it does are spine-tingling. A couple of highlights are: the excitement of hearing some jazz band arrangements I’d done for the opening of the State Theatre Centre of WA, the raw power of the horns as it all came together as I’d heard in my head; and the satisfaction of hearing some songs I’d written for an independent musical sung for the first time and fitting the vocal ranges of the chorus and soloists perfectly.

3 places I’d like to visit or revisit

1. I’ve always said that I must visit Africa before I die. I’ve been to Egypt, but the vastness, the dramatic contrasts in landscape, and the diverse peoples in the southern half of Africa captivate me. Whether it’s South Africa, Kenya, Botswana, Namibia—anywhere where there is nature and animals appeals to me immensely.

2. There is something about nature that gives me energy and peace, and mountains in particular make me feel as close to some form of spirituality as anything I’ve experienced. I tend to tire quickly in cities, but have plenty of hiking energy when in nature. I adore Switzerland, but I haven’t visited North America yet. Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, or anywhere in the Canadian Rockies or wilds would fill me with awe.

Amanda4 J

3. My wife was born in Japan and I’ve visited Japan twice. I have so much more to explore. A land of such dramatic contrasts in every conceivable way, a country and people that are endlessly fascinating, strange and beautiful. And the food is the best food in the world!

Amanda1 J

3 favourite film composers

1. This is a hard one, as I love so many, but Star Wars has to be in the top three. It brought orchestral scores back into favour in Hollywood, its themes are the most memorable of any movie in history and every single note John Williams composed is masterful and inspiring.

2. American Beauty affected me deeply as a movie and a score. I adore Thomas Newman’s music. The way he used the piano, marimba, percussion and ethnic string instruments created a score as unique as it was influential. This score cannot be mistaken for any other, and added another dimension to an already excellent film. It is modern film scoring at its finest.

3. Jon Brion’s score for P.T. Anderson’s film Punch Drunk Love is another one that impressed me because of its sheer creativity. Anderson’s unique style in this quirky film needed a quirky score, and the mixture of percussive textures, harmonium, and electronic and orchestral elements was the perfect complement. It impressed me so much that it influenced my own score for my first indie feature film.

You can find out more about Ash’s work on the following sites:

Website The Music of Ash Gibson Greig

IMDb entry

Amanda3 J


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3, 3 and 3: Amy Wiseman, dancer

Welcome to a new feature on looking up/looking down, through which I’ll be introducing some fascinating, creative people and inviting them to talk about things they love.

Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements
will never do any harm to the world.

Amy Wiseman

Amy Wiseman. Photo by Darren Smith

This month, 3, 3 and 3 welcomes dancer Amy Wiseman, co-founder (with Carly Armstrong and Jessica Lewis) of Unkempt Dance collective. Unkempt’s Tea for Three was performed to a sold-out season at the Adelaide Fringe 2011 and nominated for Best Dance Award; won the People’s Choice Award at Canberra’s Short + Sweet Dance Festival 2011; and was developed into a full-length work, Teahouse, for Fringe World in Perth 2012. Unkempt has secured a Seed Residency to begin a new work this month, and will finish 2013 with a second development of The Square Piece with choreographer Rhiannon Newton.

Amy has also danced with Australian electro-pop band Empire of the Sun since 2009, touring throughout Australia, Europe, America, Mexico and South-East Asia. She is a member of the STRUT dance board and a regular contributor to dancewest magazine in Perth (acting editor in 2013).

Over to Amy…

3 things I love about what I do

1. I love that it rarely feels like work. I get to do what I love: move, explore, research, exercise, plan, laugh, write and play.

2. The versatility. I love that I am always learning more and more skills and building a diverse career. The modern-day dance artist has to wear so many hats to ensure their work is made, then funded, then seen: performer, choreographer, writer, editor, teacher, project manager, producer, arts facilitator, even a techie on occasion.

3. I love that I am never bored. There is always a different project coming up, a workshop providing a new approach to moving, a new concept to begin making movement with or writing about, or a collaboration with others that makes you think in a different way. These changes and shifts happen every day, week and month…if it wasn’t so delightful, it would be exhausting!

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Sometimes your day involves getting into a big cement tub for the sake of art! Unkempt Dance in Teahouse. Photo by Darren Smith

3 places I’d like to visit or revisit

1. Canada. I have always felt a strange connection to this vast stretch of land. Perhaps it’s curiosity about a place so different in geography to Australia, yet with the same reputation for natural beauty. Perhaps it’s my fascination with snow and admiration for survival in freezing climes. Or perhaps it’s just my love of maple syrup and secret hope to meet a moose.

2.Tasmania. I have visited very briefly, but this is one place I would like to explore—hire a car and do it properly. Tasmania’s wild and unspoilt natural landscapes are among  the richest in Australia. I plan to immerse myself.

3. New York. Always New York. I’ve been fortunate to have visited many times, but my love of this hustling bustling city is never satiated. There’s something captivating about Manhattan’s compact living—how over time it has shifted and morphed in style, according to prosperity and culture. When I’m there, I sometimes imagine being an old building, witnessing the streets gradually changing over hundreds of years—history on a grand scale but also at a personal level. New York is a place where you really do marvel at the human species.


There’s something about windows. And fire escapes. Soho, New York, May 2013

3 favourite choreographers

I found this really difficult. I’ve been lucky to have had a taste of many artists’ work in Australia and overseas, but usually it’s only one show or piece and I don’t get the opportunity to compare or get an overall sense of the choreographer’s career. It’s different from, say, a favourite author: if you like one novel you can pick up a stack and indulge yourself. But you really need to see a dance performance live for the full impact, and that’s not always possible, especially from Perth. So instead I am going to list three works that have blown me away, and whose choreographers/collaborators I want to pursue.

1. Hofesh Shechter Company’s Uprising (Juli Dans Festival, Amsterdam, July 2008)
‘The work is choreographed with such verve that its effect is almost ecstatic…it is an arrestingly powerful piece’—Judith Mackrell, The Guardian, October 2007

2. Lawn by Splinter Group, a trio of contemporary dancers Gavin Webber, Grayson Millwood and Vincent Crowley (Perth International Arts Festival, Perth, February 2006)
‘A perfectly crafted horror fantasy [where] everything works; the timing, the rhythm and the images’—Berlin Zeitung

3. Körper by Sacha Waltz and Guests (Melbourne International Arts Festival, Melbourne, October 2009)
Körper contains amazing, distilled moments that resonate, despite the noise that surrounds them’—Bron Batten, Australian Stage, October 2009


Fountain meets sky. I’m a fan of clouds, and often take sky photos while on my travels. Versailles, France, July 2012

To keep up with shows and events, please ‘like’ Unkempt Dance on Facebook

Coming up…

In Short Image by Darren Smith_136FCD10-347C-11E3-A05A005056A302E6Unkempt Dance in association with STRUT presents:
In Short (part of the Eyes Wide open dance platform)
A curious collection by emerging dance artists
8–10 November 2013, 6pm
Studio 3, Top Level, King Street Arts Centre, Perth
Bookings here


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