Sydney Opera House

Talks & Ideas

The brief

Sydney Opera House Talks & Ideas program showcases big ideas and extraordinary people, from Nobel Prize-winner Paul Krugman and scientist Stephen Hawking to artist Yoko Ono and film icon Jackie Chan
To mark the fifth year of collection of online recordings, the SOH team wanted to create a suite of short provocations with general themed questions or statements related to Talks & Ideas as a whole.

I’ve teamed up with my creative partner Bart Reszelski of Videokidz to work together on the SOH’s proposal to develop a set of unique ideas and directions. We were happy to learn that our idea won the pitch.

The concept

Good artists copy; great artists steal

Pablo Picasso

In the modern world creativity is the original open-source code. All cultural artefacts that are being produced are automatically open to reappropriation. What’s more, this act of reappropriation forms a rebirth of an old idea into a new and multilayered form.

The provocation videos, which we successfully pitched to the Sydney Opera House, were envisioned in the style of YouTube ironic mashup films, a social media genre based on the remix culture. This art form dates back to the 1920s and has often celebrated what the mass media theorist Francesca Coppa describes as ‘a distinctly female way of seeing’. We thought of it as a method of quotation, citation and commentary; a form of pastiche, parody or homage. In other words, it was meant to be both dense and light-hearted, to help the viewers pick their way through the media-saturated labyrinth.

Each provocation is a sequence of smartly edited statements or words taken from different Australian and international public figures’ speeches (politicians, activists, actors) that altogether convey an unexpected message, and provide a punchy social and political commentary. Each person is mashed up over some simple beat. The intended irony of these provocations is that the message being ‘spoken’ sits in a stark contrast to the beliefs of those making the comment.

The proposed scripts are punchy and light, which makes them perfect for the digital age – that is instantly shareable. At the same time, they fit the SOH’s bill of discussing the issues of bigger importance, like online privacy, feminism, global refugee crisis or environmental catastrophe, with the lightness of a viral video.
The script was later edited to work with the available digital content.

The script

Catchy Tune > Punchline > Title

I. Provocation

Music:
No woman no cry, Bob Marley
Hey Ladies, Beastie Boys

Quotes:
Donald Trump: Grab men by their paycheck, women deserve pay equality
Harvey Weinstein (or any other sexual predator): Men should respect woman
Tony Abbott (or any famous anti-gay conservative politician): I support all marriages. Love is love.

Title: Gender Politics

II. Provocation

Music:
Love don’t cost a thing, Jennifer Lopez
Money, Pink Floyd
Los Ageless, St. Vincent

Quotes:
Dalai Lama: Nothing is permanent. Only your mortgage.
Kim Kardashian: You are never too old for a butt change
Malcolm Turnbull: Let’s tax everyone!

Title: Post Capitalism

III. Provocation

Music:
Spaceman, Babylon Zoo
Earth Song, Michael Jackson

Quotes:
Rupert Murdoch: Let’s care more and recycle!
Elon Musk: SpaceX will get me off this doomed planet
Gina Reinhardt: We must get realistic about climate change

Title: Environmental Doom


Sydney Opera House Talks & Ideas – Video Provocations