Jason Nelson - scenestr of the day

Published in SOD  
What do you do?
While it sounds entirely strange, I am a digital poet. I create curiously odd creatures, birthed from all manner of techno-wizardry and electronic playthings, transforming game engines, robots and interfaces into interactive writing and art. And I’m also a Senior Lecturer at Griffith University’s Queensland College of Art where I teach students to rethink/ recreate soft/ hardware and code into artistic wonders.

Why do you do it?
A secret government programme (which is now not so secret) raised me to build digital poetic works. Although I have no medical evidence, I am convinced they modified my genetics and added servos and fancy gizmos to my brain and heart. I’m not sure if this makes me a better artist/ writer, but it does make a buzzing noise when I ride horses or chase cars.

What do you love about the city you live in?
When you spell it backwards, it makes an interesting word: enabsirb. Oh and I also like how I can buy cake, sometimes even two or three types of cake. Not many cities have such a variety of cake. And Brisbane is filled with unexpected beauty. Curious places, experimental shops/ cafes and unheralded outposts of creative thought and independent creation. And some of them serve cake.

Where did you go for your last holiday?
I drove to Texas. Texas, Queensland. If you live in Texas, Queensland and are reading this, can you please find out who took my favourite shirt? It’s blue and has a witty pun that defines who I am. And without that shirt, I am finding it hard to self-identify (which is a cool thing to do the television people tell me). I fell asleep in the shade of someone else who had fallen asleep in the sun, and when I awoke, the shirt was gone. So please, Texas, Queensland residents, do the right thing. Give me my blue shirt back.

What's your favourite item of clothing? Why?
Well. I just told you now didn’t I. Jeez. Are you from Texas, Queensland? I have other clothes I like, although they make me seem all non-witty and grey. Do hats count? I ask because I lost my calculator. Now that would make a great witty shirt phrase.

What was your favourite TV show when you were a kid?
I loved 'Apple Man'! It was an animated series about a man who worked in an apple farm next to a nuclear power plant. One day there was an accident at the plant and the man ate radiated apples. Then he died slowly of radiation poisoning. Now, that was a great show.

If you could travel back in time for a day, where would you go?
Do you mean travel back in time to yesterday? Because I would most likely go buy a lotto ticket or something equally lame. But if you mean, back to any point in the history of the universe, I’d go back to the moment in very early human evolution and I’d teach them as much as I could during that one day. Then when I returned, the earth and human culture might just be filled with giant robotic tentacles that shoot cake into the mouths of floating human brains. Or maybe I’d just go back and spend a day with my granddad. Yeah that sounds better.

If we were coming over to your place, what would you cook us?
Cake with cake sauce with a cake glaze and cake ice-cream with cake crumbles. In a bowl made of cake, eaten while the band Cake plays (they could use the money).

What's the best lesson you've ever learned?
We should live our lives like those from the Choctaw tribe. I’m originally from Oklahoma and one of the local Native American tribes had the belief that we all exist over 15 generations. Who we are comes from the seven generations before us. There is our own generation. Then everything we do, EVERYTHING WE DO, should be with the next seven generations in mind, what is best for them. Oh and I learned how to hypnotise large predatory birds like eagles and hawks and vultures. So, you know, I have skills.

Tell us one thing about yourself that nobody else knows...
No. I won’t. Ok. Ok. Nobody knows that I wrote this sentence. Not yet they don’t. But one day. One day soon, everyone who reads this will know I wrote that sentence. EVERYONE.

Are you happy with your work/ life balance?
I’ve always been confused as to why those two have to be separate. The last thing you ever want to do is stop making things, stop doing things, stop adding good, beautiful, strange, interesting, innovative creations to the world. So yeah work, life are really the same.

How do you define success?
The notion of winning or losing, being successful or not, is just something we use to make an absurd world seem tolerable. Jeez. That sounded bleak. Ummmm. How about….cake! Success is cake. Actually I don’t even really like cake. I like pie. Sweet, sweet pie.

What's your spirit animal?
On Kepler-438b, the most earth like exoplanet we’ve found to date, there is a creature that has the eyes of a wolf, the brain of a dolphin, and is half tree/ half eagle/ half gibbon. I know three halves make more than a whole. But my spirit animal is cool like that.


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