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Artist Helen Johnson was born in 1979 in Melbourne, or Naarm, she says, using the word of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation, and grew up in the eastern suburbs. Her English parents had migrated to Australia four years earlier. The lineage of Johnson’s satirical take on Australian colonialism can be traced to both a teenage love of surrealism – she admired US artist Dorothea Tanning – and a concurrent political awakening about Indigenous dispossession borne of listening to music.

“I was taught nothing of Australia’s true histories at school,” says Johnson, whose exhibition Warm Ties has come to Sydney’s Artspace gallery after being seen at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts.


Relationships between machine, brain and body have long been British choreographer Wayne McGregor’s obsession. He uses technology to try to understand how his dancers intuitively – or habitually – embody creative expression. This year, McGregor’s premiere dance works in London have explored how our great “sensorial organ”, the body, interacts with drones – in the show +/- Human – and, in Autobiography, how our human genome shapes our destinies via millions of genetic permutations, for which McGregor had his own genome sequenced, with 11,000 pages returned in just the first level of analysis.



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