This website archives the work and creative practice of Jon Tjhia (that’s me).
I live and work in Narrm (Melbourne) as an uninvited settler on the unceded land of the Wurundjeri people of the Eastern Kulin nations, to whom I pay my respects and my rent (if you’re a settler of so-called Australia, you should too). The sovereignty of this continent’s >500 First Nations has never been ceded. The violence of colonisation and its institutions is shameful, interconnected and ongoing.
I’m a radio maker, musician, artist and writer. I’m interested in complications of what’s ‘pop’ and ‘experimental’; what’s overt and what’s covert. I’m interested in people, bodies, situations and voices, and how we experience time, money, rules, language and relation. It seems silly, though, to limit yourself like that. I think about the turning and burning of the world.
My radio making is strongly influenced by popular music, narrative features, abstract sound work and communications technology. Since 2018, it has bled into installation, video and multimedia essays.
Work I’ve made has been heard on ABC Radio National, Radio Australia, WBEZ (USA), CBC (Canada), BBC Radio 4 (UK) and WFMU (USA); at Manchester Literature Festival and the Barbican (UK); and on the podcasts Constellations and The Truth. I’ve performed it at Arts Centre Melbourne and Sydney Opera House. A few years ago, for Melbourne Writers’ Festival, we had a radio karaoke night, which was fun.
One of my longest running collaborations has been with Jessie Borrelle. In 2008, we undertook an artist residency in Wiluna, working with school-aged children to create audio stories. In 2010, we created Paper Radio – a podcast bringing high production values and ambitious sound design to stories (both tall and true) from Australia and New Zealand. You can read more about the podcast in The New Yorker, Overland and The Age.
As part of my former job as the Wheeler Centre’s senior digital editor, I published and produced original podcasts including Better Off Dead (with Andrew Denton) and The Messenger (with Behind the Wire). You can read more about work I’ve made as a freelancer below.
My stories, articles and essays have been published in LIMINAL, Un Magazine, the Big Issue, Performance Review, Guardian Australia, The Lifted Brow, Going Down Swinging and the Institute of Modern Art’s Making Art Work series.
I’ve also contributed to books including Eavesdropping: A Reader, Soundhouse: The Listening Body and Making Art Work. ‘Present and accounted for’, long-listed for the 2021 LIMINAL Non-Fiction Essay Prize, will be published in Against Disappearance (LIMINAL/Pantera Press) in August 2022.
At the Wheeler Centre, I co-founded and co-edited (2016–2020) the Australian Audio Guide, in collaboration with Kate Montague. I also co-founded and co-edited Notes, a digital publication, with Sophie Quick. In 2013, I co-wrote the audio guide script for NGV’s Monet’s Garden exhibition with Jessie Borrelle and Toby Fehily.
My sound, video and installation work has been shown with Toronto Media Arts Centre (CA), Avantwhatever, Liquid Architecture, Darebin Arts, Next Wave, International Science and Art Symposium, This Is Not Art and so on.
I’m a member of the Manus Recording Project Collective, a collaboration producing recordings of time in Australia’s immigration detention system. The collective has produced two archives: how are you today and where are you today. In 2018, as part of Eavesdropping, I undertook the Te Whare Hēra International Artists’ Residency in Te Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington with Michael Green.
I’ve played and produced music with Speed Painters, Scissors for Sparrow, ii, Aleks and the Ramps and Tailor Made for a Small Room, touring several countries and festivals as well as at Judith Wright Centre, FELTspace, Serial Space, ACCA, NGV and a lot of backyards. You might also like to put on one of my mixes? A few years ago, I was invited to remix the theme of my favourite podcast, Soundproof (I miss it so much). I’ve often composed and produced music for the narrative audio projects I work on. It’s one of my favourite things to do.
I’m available for short-term work involving writing and editing, visual/audio/digital production, podcast recording and editing, sound design, music composition, concept and curatorial development, illustration, mentorship and a few other things. I have extensive professional experience primarily as a digital producer, writer-editor and radio/audio producer.
I’ve recently worked on projects with and for Arts Access Victoria, Guardian Australia, LIMINAL, Liquid Architecture, National Gallery of Australia, Melbourne Fringe, State Library Victoria, Australian Poetry and First Nations Australia Writers Network, ArtsHub, Artful Dodgers Studios, The Substation, The Circular, Jewish Museum of Australia, Emerging Writers’ Festival, Birthing and Justice with Dr Ruth De Souza, Victorian National Parks Association, Judith Neilson Institute, Winrock International, Sonos, Nike and Broadwave.
Right now, I’m working with Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Debris Magazine, LIMINAL and others.
I’m also available for workshops and teaching. With Bethany Atkinson-Quinton, Sophie Black and Veronica Sullivan, I developed two years of workshop programmes for Signal Boost. I’ve previously held workshops, tutorials, presentations or listening sessions at Audiocraft, OzPod, Podcast Garage (USA), Victoria University (NZ), City Gallery (NZ), University of Melbourne, RMIT, CBAA, Institute of Modern Art, Monash University and Emerging Writers’ Festival. In 2021, I joined Lea Redfern to co-teach the Advanced Media Project unit at the University of Sydney. In 2022, I’m teaching in the Digital Media department at RMIT University, hosting the Composing Sound Spatially studio.
From 2012–2020, I worked as the Wheeler Centre’s senior digital editor (before then, from 2010, I worked as the centre’s video editor). I’ve been a New York Festivals International Radio Awards Grand Jury member and a judge for the Walkley Awards, Australian Podcast Awards, Fringe Awards and some other things I’ve forgotten.
If you’d like to talk, collaborate, commission or hire me, please get in touch.