Cultcha Not Culture
Culture is a pain in the arse to find. Sure, you could walk into the MCA and be saturated with modern ‘art’. You could stare at the institutional relics in the Art Gallery of NSW and call it cultural osmosis – a highly cultural endeavour. And yeah, sure, you could go to the Opera House, watch a show and leave nodding assuredly at your evening’s companion scoffing about how ‘cultured’ you are. But you’re not. You’re just hungry with no where to eat because you’ve missed the evening dining hours in the city due to the show time of Don Giovanni. Why can’t I get a side of fries with my Mozart?
In all of these ‘cultural experiences’ you leave a little limp. They seem to tire rather than excite. And the affected audiences of such happenings only add to the evenings’ pretence. Sydney’s cosmopolitan bourgeoisie, experts the layering of designer threads and organic hemp, are the retired gatekeepers of art, music and film. Or to put slightly more bluntly, the 50 plus bracket with the disposable income ($284 per ticket – sorry, what? Do I get a weeks rent with that?) and expendable time (Thursday night – sorry, what? I’m missing Peter Backer’s killer 80s set at Arcadia?) to see Madame Butterfly.
It’s not long before you realise that most of the cultural events in Sydney just aren’t developed for us. Despite the bourgeoning hipster nation and the rise of the organic, biodynamic, brioche burger accompanied Young Henrys craft beer, we don’t seem to be deeply engaged with the true culture of our own city. Culture is nourishment. It’s the access to ideas and new ways of thinking about the world that fuel our artistic growth, and a jam jar of kale smoothie won’t fulfil our daily requirements.
Last week I attended one of the first events run by Cultcha (a mokumentary about penguin prostitution). I was excited – and it was an evening worth getting excited about. Cultcha is a pop up event company that seeks to deliver great quality film to audiences in a palatable way. Picture a deconstructed warehouse with cosy chairs, red wine, salty popcorn, interested people and a Q&A with the director at the end.
As the evening wound up, I ended up chatting with featured director, Kim Ramsey. It was a rare experience to be able to talk with someone who has had a commendable career trajectory in my field. As I watched her circle the room after our exchange it was clear she was thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to share her craft with her audience, and I mused over the disconnect between mainstream film its audience.
What is truly remarkable about Cultcha is the way it covers the perfect middle ground between high art and approachable entertaining; it appeals to everyone. And for me, it bridges the divide between artist and audience, as through my conversation with Kim I gained an entirely new perspective on her film.
The women running Cultcha are clearly absolute legends and have created something with a fantastic vibe. I’ve already marked the next pop up film night in my calendar.
Sorry, Othello. You’ve been trumped.
For more information visit CULTcha’s Facebook here.
By Danielle Pearce