An exploration of the work.
The Public Studio has been a name, practice, and concept that has held many different activities and forms over the past years: a physical space out the back of my former shop where people came to quietly write or study, a classroom-studio where artists gathered to examine and deepen their relationship to their work, a theatre company, an art making partnership, and a series of interdisciplinary creative collaborations. It's held a lot of stuff.
For the past five years it’s lain mostly fallow as our focus has been thrown to filmmaking. But as of 2018, I am re-filling the container of The Public Studio now with a dedicated exploration of the guts of the work itself: filmmaking, theatremaking, acting, alongside the mess of living; as well as the processes and practices that support all this.
I am interested in documenting and asking questions of my own specific professional practice, as well as the practice partnership I share with my husband, Nicholas Coghlan. This is sometimes very form-focussed, story-focused, poetically focused or performance-focused. A lot of our work is about dialogue and trial and error, and there is something inherently valuable in uttered iteration; I'm hoping to be able to translate some of these casual conversations into a more practical form here.
But I'm also interested in discovering, finding out about and documenting optimal conditions for the work. Routines, repetitions, and recipes for actions (and recipes for actual food, too); rituals, systems and practices for a deeper, more disciplined and more devoted connection with the labour of art-making.
I do a lot of different things in my working week: I write, direct, act, voice-over, produce, and I'm constantly seeing other people's work across mediums. It's reasonably exhausting, but more than that -- it's a bit discombobulating. It can become all too easy to topple then into a vat of wine, insomnia and a hideously weakened immune system.
So, my attempt here at least will be to describe (or at least experiment with) ways of living both in and alongside the work, whilst also living in the world. Accepting the (sometimes very challenging) idiosyncratic nature of our work whilst being somewhat equipped to stay the course. Getting into the philosophical and poetic and practical guts of the work, of course; but also finding tools and systems that can support stamina, stability and a deeper, healthier, more rigorous connection for me as a creator wherever possible.
I hope then that this may be of use to others too, in some small way.
About me and my work.
My name is Ming-Zhu Hii and I am Melbourne (Australia) based, for the moment at least. I make films at Find & Replace Films; I have created a fair bit of hybrid theatre, video & multimedia work in my life, and a little installation-based art as well. I am known around the traps for being an actor; and I have the best day job in the world as a commercial voiceover artist. But none of these definitions really matter. I make work. Biographies live elsewhere. Getting into the guts of things lives here.
I am officially myself at mingzhuhii.com where you can find my portfolio and links to my acting and voiceover work and representation, too. My filmmaking company is Find & Replace. I'm also on Twitter and Instagram.