Q&A: IMMI provokes at Floating Goose Studios Inc.

Words by Liam Bosecke

In a world where cultural identity is the makeup of who we are, the traditional ideologies of culture seem to be becoming less relevant everyday as we move into a globalised and diverse future. Cultural identity provides us with a security blanket to the unknown, usually meaning acceptance by our peers if we abide by the traditionalism and partake in cultural ceremonies. IMMI is an exploration of creating a cultural language from scratch. IMMI doesn’t stem from just one cultural background in the past, but from numerous imaginary ones in the future.

The opening ceremony, which will be performed by the imaginary people of IMMI, will feature performances across a wide array of art forms, including; music, video, poetry, painting and even IMMI edible delicacies for you to try for yourself.

I spoke with the creative director of IMMI Kaspar Schmidt Mumm at his studio ahead of the exhibition, to get sense of what we can expect on the opening night: 

For those of us who don’t know, would you be able to explain to us who/what IMMI is?
They're an imaginary culture of cultural hybridism, that involves anyone and everyone, and invites everyone and anyone to be a part of a new tradition. We might be losing the church and we might be losing all of these old traditions, but we still need to meet up with our families and hang out, we still need to understand that we’ve gone from boyhood to manhood, we still need to celebrate death and celebrate birth. There are these weird traditions that are innate in us we need to celebrate. I think that's really important and I think that’s something an imaginary culture could do.

Is that what IMMI is about? No real prejudice? it’s almost anti-culture shock.
Exactly! I feel like if you were completely new to a country and you were scared by a place and how different it is, you could find home in IMMI. It’s so weird and so new that it doesn’t matter, its free as well, I invite people to hang out and make stuff. 

Where did IMMI come from?
At first we were thinking about symbolism of culture and archetypes of cultures and I kind of liked water. But then I bought this pool cube, this pool chlorination cube, its this really beautiful object in this plastic bag and I just thought: this is gonna be the object of worship, and from there I just started collecting blue shit like a Bowerbird.

You have quite a few people working with you on this project. How did you all come together?
Honestly it’s just all my family and friends, it’s just the people that are closest to me and that I love. As much as I’d love to call it my solo show, it’s not, it’s like we’re making a production.

 Photographs by  Emmaline Zanelli .

Photographs by Emmaline Zanelli.

We then spoke in depth about all of the very talented and diverse creatives that made this project possible. A full list of these creatives is available at the bottom of this article. There is a real sense of community and creative freedom with those involved in the making of IMMI. As I sat in the studio speaking with Kaspar, I felt a great sensation of homeliness in the studio, which is really what IMMI is all about.

Are you getting an anthropologist to present on the night?
I’m really interested in the sciences, my work has always breached between science and art. It’s always been taking the piss on science a bit, but I think it’s important to have an understanding of the factual knowledge, but at the same time question that and to question the aesthetic of science.

Yeah, so John Carty, he’s the Head of Anthropology at the Museum of South Australia. He’s doing some serious stuff, he’s out researching the next exhibition for the Museum of South Australia and here’s this random emerging artist sending him an email going ‘Hey man want a coffee?’ (laughs).

But I was so humbled, he emailed me back and was like ‘Dude, I’m keen’. But he’s just an amazing presenter and an amazing talker. It’s important to get someone who knows what they’re talking about. Not only is he passionate about it, but he also thinks alternative culture as being something that needs to represent itself, not be represented by collectors.  

 Photographs by  Emmaline Zanelli , then painted by Kaspar Schmidt Mumm.

Photographs by Emmaline Zanelli, then painted by Kaspar Schmidt Mumm.

I remember seeing a bit of the ‘Flaming O’ project late last year in the Adelaide City Council Art Pod. Is your creative process pretty erratic?

With ‘Flaming O’ and IMMI, they’re both representations of environments where I and my friends are at home. You know, if you create a world, it’s yours and you’re at home there no matter what, it’s your world. And I think that creating a world for more people to hang out in and be expressively and creatively free is my dream: creating environments to create freely.

I have dreams for these to get even crazier, I’ve always said to people that I’d wanted to do Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. I’d love to create a Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for an artificial environment where you know I’m the inventor or the shaman who walks you through it, I’d love to do that. The same as the indigenous shamans who teach the children what they can and can’t eat. I’d love to be that person, but for an imaginary culture that has its ethics routed in hybridization and the ethics that we need to have for a globalized world.  

What can we expect on the night?
There will be a 'Welcome To Country'. I've got a local didgeridoo player playing with a big crowd out on the street. Then there's going to be an opening performance with a ten minute film playing. I really liked that idea we had with 'Flaming O' where we had people looking into the gallery almost like they're watching another world, it almost doesn't seem real. Then we close the curtains and open the doors of the gallery, sort of to alienate the audience a bit. then there's an anthropological exhibit that documents that performance and those characters. So you never get to actually be inside of it (the culture) .

You're always an observer?
Yeah, you're an observer, you're definitely an observer. An exhibit at a museum is never actually being a part of that culture, the only way to be a part of that culture is to be building it, and to be practicing it, and tradition is practice. Everyone outside are observers , I'm poking at the audience a bit. I'm trying to alienate them as much as indigenous people are alienated in museums.

IMMI begins on May 12, 6:00PM
Floating Goose Studio Inc. 271 Morphett Street, Adelaide SA


Gallery Opening Hours:
Friday 3:00pm – 9:00pm*
Saturday 10:00am – 4:00pm*
Sunday 12:00am – 4:00pm*

* During Exhibition periods.


Involving a long list of artists: 

Kaspar Schmidt Mumm (Creative Director) 

Dom Symes

Adrian Schmidt Mumm
Ben Sargent
Declan Casley-Smith
Dillon Mueller

Photography by:
Emmaline Zanelli

Jerome Williams

Joanna Kitto
Fineprint Magazine

Virtual Set Design:
Claire Marwick Smith

Graphic Design:
James Brown IV

Funded by Carclew Youth Arts Program.