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Hello. I'm James Valentine.
This is The Mix Remixed. This is where we take
the year's best stories, put a bit of zinc on their nose so they'll be ready and happy
for this special summer edition.

In this episode,
Myf Warhurst goes underground with photographer Roger Ballen. ROGER BALLEN: Darkness, for most
people in the Western societies, is what their psyches fear. My hairs are standing up on my arm
from that. I'm like, "Oooh..."

The weirdest interview
The Mix has ever conducted. I don't know. Comedy seems... Ooh, I'm spilling it
all over myself. Comedy's still... Here.
OK. Can you give me a boost?
I'll help you. (LAPS NOISILY)
There you go. Oh, God! That's good. And this thing explained.

If movie director David Lynch
and photographer Roger Ballen get into a spook-off, Lynch is going down. Roger Ballen's not just dark,
he's pitch black. His images
are the stuff of nightmares. For the Sydney Biennale last year, he wanted us to get in touch
with our fears - and when I say "our" fears,
I mean hers. We sent Myf Warhurst.



ROGER BALLEN: Darkness, for most
people in the Western societies, is what their psyches fear. (MYSTERIOUS NOISES)
Ahh! What their psyches fear,
they refer to as darkness. But it's actually not really
about darkness, it's just what people are scared of. WOMAN: Help me! My baby's gone!
(CAMERA SHUTTER CLICKS) Roger is working in
sort of, you know, what he sometimes describes as
unsafe places - places where
you wouldn't expect art to be made. (OVERLAPPING VOICES ECHO)

You're encountering a reality here. It's a reality based on the place. It's a reality based on the people
that are part of this environment, and it's a Roger Ballen reality,
on top of everything else. So, it's a reality. My hairs are standing up on my arm
from that. I'm like, "Oooh..."

If people aren't aware,
this is an old psychiatric hospital. Well, that's right. If this hospital had
some kind of darknesses around it, then I guess these
underground spaces are the place where that darkness
is probably most resonant. But underground, you know,
no-one can hear you scream.

BALLEN: I've been
on the planet 65 years, and there's a whole evolutionary
history to Roger Ballen. So, I'm walking around
with all this experience, and then, when I get to a place, I interact with it
in some way or another, so it's always a mixture
of the place and me. Ultimately, what I do in
most places, through my photographs, is a transformation of reality
through Roger Ballen's mind. What you're seeing here
is a reflection of... ..of my consciousness, my being. Mm. He's trying to kind of make images
of his dreams. And for a painter,
a painter has a dream, you can get a canvas and some paints and you can start to try
and translate that thing directly in paint. A photographer can't do that. A photographer has to kind of
find something to photograph. So, that sense of, you know,
you have a dream, you have to somehow find the reality
of that thing... If I had dreams like that,
I'd never sleep. Never sleep. (DISTORTED SCREAMING) What's the appeal of darkness to you?

Well, darkness is light.
Darkness is the unknown. And through coming into contact
with the richness of one's being, one's consciousness, one's core, this is a light. It's a part of your identity,
it's part of your heritage that may go back
a few billion years. So, it's getting to know,
in a short period of time, more about who you are. This is called Theatre of Darkness. Do you think we are not equipped
to deal with our own concept of emotions? Well, most people aren't equipped. How do we get equipped? Do we immerse
ourselves in something like this? Is this facing our biggest fears?
This is a good point. For me,
the purpose of art has always been to help people engage themselves
and enlarge their consciousness, make people more aware
of their own identity. That's, to me, always been
the purpose of art for myself and for viewing art.

As a photographer who's
so kind of contemporary, it's just amazing to me
that he's shooting in film, he's shooting in black-and-white,
he's not using Photoshop. So, all of these images,
on one level, are absolutely images
of something that is real, that has happened, that is there. It only becomes image
at the click of the shutter. And that click - that choice -
is the thing that then makes
these incredible images, which, just for that second,
were real. So, there's this weird kind of
sense of it being a fiction as well as a reality.

So, this person is a different story
to the next room, which is another...a different story? Yeah. In this story,
we have another issue here. (COUGHING) That's somebody behind here. They have caught tuberculosis

When you're taking your photographs, quite often, the people that you use
are people...real people and you put yourself
in really interesting, difficult, dangerous, sometimes, situations. So, that must be a different form
of communication as well. How do you get those people
to work for you? (LAUGHS) There have been a lot of situations
over the years that have been a bit hairy,
you know? And I guess if I hadn't developed
a relationship with people and had a certain calmness
to who I was, and maybe I was fortunate
in other circumstances, it could have turned nasty, maybe. But what do they say? Close is OK,
as long as it doesn't happen. We always talk about the bad,
but there's a lot of friendships, and a lot of positive
lifelong relationships that I've created with people and because of that,
I've been able to do what I'm doing. Hope to see you guys next week
some time. Be well.

I would say,
at least about my photography and perhaps about this place, it's in your mind
before you can open your mouth. That's a good criteria, for me,
of good art - it's in your mind, it's in your
stomach before your mouth opens. So, that's what I like to do.
It's an instantaneous jolt.

US comedian Scott Aukerman began his life
as a writer and performer on a hit sketch show called Mr Show. Since then, he's spent his time ironically deconstructing
the talk show, perhaps most notably
with Between Two Ferns, which features Zach Galifianakis. He's also got a show
called Comedy Bang! Bang!, which was a wildly successful
podcast and TV show where comedians appear in character. He was in Australia
doing a live version of that show and sat down with Mix regular
Eddie Sharp.

Hi. Welcome to another edition
of Between Two Ferns. I'm your host, Zach Galifianakis, and my guest today is...Barack Ob... President Barack Obama. Good to be with you, Zach. First question. EDDIE: I wasn't sure
how to approach an interview with the man who's made a career
out of awkward and absurd interviews.

The Mix team thought substituting
wattles for ferns would be a fun way to kick things off. I wasn't totally sold on the idea,
but thought I'd roll with it.

This is me deeply concerned
that there aren't enough wattles. Hi. How's it going? They say you should never
meet your heroes, and luckily for me, I don't consider
Scott Aukerman to be a hero of mine. I think the real heroes are underpaid
schoolteachers and nurses.

This is the way,
the exact Between Two Ferns set-up. Is it really? Three cameras exactly like this.
It is. We've sort of tried to do this here
with 'Between Two Wattles'. Those are wattles? What are wattles? Wattles are an Australian plant
that bloom very beautifully and... When does that happen?
Because those are... They lost all their flowers, so now
they look just sort of like shrubs. OK. Wow. Thank you for
making me feel welcome. There's been a lot of budget cuts.
I tried my best. Mm-hm. There's a famous opening scene in alleged sex offender
Woody Allen's Broadway Danny Rose where there's a bunch of comedians
sitting around a diner, swapping stories.
Mm-hm. And it seems to me that you've made
a career out of that, out of just... Allegedly sex offending people?
Yes. I don't think so.
It's a 'gotcha'. I...I... Please, let's... (IMITATES WOODY ALLEN)
I don't think that, uh... ..that's something
that I've been doing. Hey, Reggie. How are you tonight?
I'm doing great. Let me ask you - you know,
do you have a wife and children? I don't know anything about you.
I mean, I did. Yeah, what happened to 'em?
I don't know. I just was, like, not into it
anymore, so I just kind of left. You seem to have made a career out of
just mucking around with friends. Was that intentional? Did you imagine
that you'd be doing this? I... No. I... Sort of my career was actually
working for a living before this, and actually, like, writing
and crafting stories and stuff, and so this was a side thing
that I did for fun, and, turned into
just a big thing where people seem to enjoy
me talking to people. It's very odd, but...yeah. So The Sixth Sense - did you, like, see that ending
coming or, like, what? I kind of figured
there would be credits at the end. Yeah. Because how else are going to know
who was responsible? Who's the gaffer? You've worked a lot
with, like, improv groups and you do a lot of podcasting
and musical comedy. These are the things
that have traditionally gotten people mocked or severely beaten, but at the moment,
they seem to be quite cool. Have you noticed this? Have I noticed
that what I do seems cool? No! It is, though.
Not in the least. It seems like you've fallen... Just through your own enthusiasm,
you've lucked onto something that at the moment
seems to be quite popular. I don't know. I kind of feel like...
Hello, young man. Thank you so much. I'll take that.
Oh, that's good. Great. I kind of feel like
every once in a while, there'll be someone like Louis C.K.
or Aziz who sells out Madison Square Garden
and you go, "How did, like, dumb jokes
become that popular?" But, uh... I don't know... Comedy seems...
Ooh, I'm spilling all over myself. Comedy's still...
Here. Can you give me a boost. I'll help you.
(SLURPS) There you go.
Oh, God! That's good. Um... I have to cough from that...
Go nuts! (COUGHS EXTREMELY LOUDLY) That's a lot. Good cough.
OK. Thank you. I'm better now. In the world of podcasting, it seems to be, like,
based on friendships and favours. Do you get asked to be in
a lot of people's podcasts? You're right, it is
sort of based on friendships and a lot of, you know,
producing in general is, like, asking people
for a favour. I mean,
the first season of the TV show was me essentially asking people
like Jon Hamm and Amy Poehler, like, "Will you do my TV show?" and sight unseen,
them just agreeing. What did you think of the... Game. ..last night? Well, I can't believe the... Score. ..was so... Close. You know,
I try to sort of reciprocate. But at the same time, you know, there's only so many hours
in the day, and, you know,
I have to raise my eight children. Eight children?
Mm. Oh, wow.
Yeah. you have, like, a polite no?
Have you worked out a way to say no? Let's roleplay this a little bit. I've got a radio show
on Sunday morning... NO! Well, that's good, 'cause
kind of preserved my dignity there. I'm still in character.

Eugh... Please? End scene.
Oh. My guest today is Justin Bieber. Thank you, Justin, for being on. It's really exciting to talk to you, especially right in the middle
of your public meltdown.

You worked on Between Two Ferns. You're kind of
the king of sting comedy. I was just wondering,
in regards to that, what's a particularly, like,
mean question that I could ask you? Ask me? Uh... You know... They're hard to come up with,
the slams. They really are. You know,
the whole slam joke structure is pretty much leading someone into
thinking it's a nice compliment and then, like, sort of
ending with a slam. So, you know, for instance, of the favourites that I
wrote for Brad Pitt would be, um... Do you people focus
maybe too much on your looks and don't even, you know, realise
that you're just a shitty actor?

(SIGHS) It's a lull and then a punch. Yes, exactly. For me, you know, you're
doing not a bad job of it so far. Thank you so much. Like, I kind of feel a little bit
attacked by you so far, so just, like, sort of ease me
into what seems like a compliment and then disparage my work. OK.
Mm-hm. Um...

I can't do it. I'm so sorry.
You're too nice. No. Like, I mean, I wish, uh... I am. I'm just too nice. You're just too nice a guy. See, this is why, honestly,
you're not going to make it. Yeah. No, that's good.
No, you gotta hear it. You really have to
take celebrities down. But you see a lot of famous people who are, like, not very talented
and they seem nice. Can't you just coast by on niceness? When you coast by on niceness,
this is what happens. Well, this is really...

You truly are the king of sting.
Yeah. (EXHALES) Um...

There are some paintings
that are so famous that we recognise them instantly, but sometimes, scratch their surface and there are hidden images
and meanings underneath. Take, for example, the portrait
by French impressionist Degas that Australian researchers
X-rayed last year and found another entire portrait
underneath. We were so amazed by this we thought,
"Let's find five more," so here's the top five paintings
with hidden agendas.

Let's start with the Degas. The National Gallery of Victoria
bought Portrait Of A Woman back in 1937, and some critics at the time remarked
on a strange discolouration. Turns out the discolouration was actually another image
bleeding through.

78 years later, scientists used a high-definition
X-ray beam to uncover the face, believed to be Emma Dobigny,
one of the artist's favourite models. Eight years earlier, the same X-ray
technique revealed a mystery face in Van Gogh's Patch Of Grass. This time, a peasant woman
was found buried beneath. Apparently, this was
not uncommon for Van Gogh. The poverty-stricken artist couldn't
exactly splash out on canvases, so he would often repurpose
older works.

Number three
has a more egocentric bent. If you look closely at Jan van Eyck's
Arnolfini Portrait, you will see a Latin signature
on the wall which says,
"Jan van Eyck was here, 1434." And in the mirror below there are
two barely discernible figures. One of them is said to be the artist
raising his hand in greeting to viewers down the ages. An earlier version of photoshopping
can be seen in this 1570 portrait, purporting to be Spanish noblewoman
Eleanor of Toledo. After a Pennsylvania Museum employee
suspected the painting to be a fake, it was found to contain another,
more realistic face underneath - that of the subject's daughter
Isabella de' Medici. It had been painted over in the 1800s to conform
to Victorian beauty standards. And finally, this Dutch seaside
painting was, for around 140 years, a painting of a Dutch seaside. But why were there clusters of people standing around on a wintry day
at the beach? Because when, in the 17th century,
the work was originally painted, the scene included
a gigantic beached whale. A student discovered the whale during
a restoration of the work in 2014. No-one knows why the whale
was painted out, but it's been suggested that those damn meddling Victorians
were at it again. A beached whale might have been seen
as a vulgar, unnecessary stain on the pleasant beach scene.

OK, welcome to the Pub Chat.
Let's talk the superheroes. Nicola Scott, comic book artist,
hello. Hello. Thank you. Michael Bodey,
all things media for The Australian. How are you?
Good, James. Thank you. Alright, a lot of
superhero movies about. Uh, we've had Batman v Superman. We've got a rash of Avengers and
things on their way. More X-Men. Before we descend
into fanboy geekdom, here's what you need to know. There are two main comic universes -
Marvel and DC. DC's famous for brooding heroes, like
Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, while Marvel's got Spider-Man,
Iron Man and the Hulk. Both produce a lot of characters
and a lot of movies. Too many? Um...not yet. You know, people are still
paying a lot of money to go and see these movies. Certainly in the Marvel movies, they're finding a way
to sort of cross genres. They're not just making
superhero movies, they're making superhero... ..superheroes in a heist movie
for Ant-Man... ANT-MAN: What do you want me to do? I want you to break into
a place and steal some stuff. Makes sense. ..or superheroes
in a political thriller. So, there's...they're...
digging deeper into what these characters'
potential in their, you know, created world context
could be. Right, right. Too many? Well, DC Comics
is digging themselves into a hole, I reckon, with Warner Bros. They are just stuck in this Frank Miller,
Christopher Nolan, Dark Knight paradigm where they all have... ..all the superheroes
have daddy issues. So, Batman v Superman,
the current one, is this the fifth time
we've seen Superman... ..uh, Batman's dad get shot? (GUNSHOT) (SCREAMING AND GUNSHOTS)

I reckon they're in
this existential crisis where Miller and Nolan
have defined something so successful both for Batman or The Dark Knight in the comics and the movies that they can't sort of
leap out of it with all their other Supermans,
Wonder Womans, Aquaman -
who appears in this new movie. I don't know what you thought.
He looks like my barista. I mean, it just is...
It's appalling. And then you've got...
It's all too dark, is it? Everyone's all anguished
about doing it... It's all vengeful.
Yeah. And I reckon, one - you had
Christopher Nolan who was an auteur, so he could pull it off but, two - they were sort of released in that
world that was post-September 11 and we were vengeful. Now we're just confused, so we want happy-happy stuff,
which Marvel's delivering. Well, they've got an advantage
in that their tent-pole characters they licensed out before they
started making their own movies, so all they were left with
were their B-list heroes that they have turned into
something significant. Um... So, they've been able to grow them
and their audience from the ground up. So, despite whichever one you might
draw for in any particular point, Nicola, do you think Marvel's done
a better job at the movie franchising of the comic book tradition?
Absolutely. They have Kevin Feige sort of
sitting in the emperor position, sort of shuffling bits around and keeping everything
as cohesive as possible. What Warners has done is kind of
given Zack Snyder that job but he's also directing
these movies, so there's just not enough
of the right creative voices having input
into the finished product. Let's just finish
with a couple of favourites. The one I've found myself liking
is Jessica Jones. And one of the things I like about it
is that universe thing, that here's this superhero world where Jessica's
a bit off to the side.

I saw you. It's a great attitude.
It's a great world to be in. Well, it's a great platform
having... You know, Marvel's gone all-in
with their shared universe and they're doing it on
so many different platforms and this Netflix platform
gives them the opportunity to tell really super-detailed,
complex character pieces. Movie or television version
you've loved recently? Oh, look, it is a big fat mess, but I did actually love
Batman v Superman. I walked out of it going,
"That was the weirdest movie ever." I hated it with a passion.
It's terrible, but I love it. That is the most tedious film
I've seen since the previous Superman film
directed by Zack Snyder. Alright, one you've loved. I still like the Iron Man series.
I think they're... And that's pretty... That's a big call 'cause
they've got Gwyneth Paltrow in it. Your eyes are red.
Tears for your long-lost boss? Tears of joy. I hate job-hunting. I... It's just got the right tone,
Robert Downey Jr. It shows that other things can come into this universe
and add something. I think Warner and DC just think, "We've got Batman and Superman and
it doesn't really matter what else. "We will just sink this
and it'll work," and it doesn't. The battle of the superheroes. It's
great when they battle one another. It's great when
the studios battle one another. It's fantastic to have you two here
in the pub talking about it. Thanks so much.
Thank you very much. Cheers. Thanks for having us.

If you're a photojournalist and you're working in the world's
conflict zones, then you want those pictures
to be seen. Getting photos published
these days in newspapers or even getting eyeballs online is a considerable challenge. In 2016,
one group of photojournalists took matters into their own hands and started putting these pictures
up on the streets. Our own Eloise Fuss went with them in
Hobart as they slipped out at night and conducted
a guerilla posting campaign.

MAN: We're gonna paste
international news from migration crisis,
from Ebola, from war.

It is a goal of this service to put international news
on a local level, and we do that with large-format
posters that are almost 3m by 4m.

ELOISE: It's midnight in Hobart and photographers Benjamin and
Madelena are armed with imagery. They're members of the international
photojournalism collective Dysturb. It was created by
a committee of photojournalists that wished to bring information and
deliver it to as many as possible.

The groups carried out
guerilla paste-up campaigns in cities like Paris, Montreal,
Melbourne and New Orleans. Now they're bringing some of
the world's best photojournalism to Tassie. It's eerily quiet in Hobart. We just put
Myrto Papadopoulos's image of an immigrant walking around the
port at dawn on the island of Kos. We had to get quite high up
but the wall is great. It's in a beautiful spot just by the
port, so...super happy with it.

At night-time, basically it means that we don't have to get permission
in the certain locations that we know are gonna be
in high-exposure areas with all sorts of different people
walking past, and ultimately we want to make it
accessible for a lot of people.

Melbourne's Madelena Rehorek helped bring the work of Dysturb
to Australia. Her colleague Benjamin Petit shoots for publications
like The New York Times. They want to make an impact and ensure the global issues
covered by photojournalists are still getting through. We realised that the young people
were not really reading the news, were not...
or when they were watching TV, they were not necessarily believing
what they were hearing or what they were seeing. And, uh...strangely enough, we realised that by using the photo
media and pasting it in the street, there was this tendency for them to believe more in
what they were seeing. The term has been coined as
'infobesity', where you have
so much information online and, you know, people
are clicking through galleries and clicking through stories
so quickly and so rapidly that we almost sort of forget about the story that we read
two weeks ago. So, I think
the state of photojournalism is quite an interesting one when we have technology like that
at the moment, but also what Dysturb does
and what I'm quite interested in is the fact
that you'll see that image on the street around the corner from
you as you're going to the shops, you know, for a few weeks,

The approach
does bring some challenges but mostly Dysturb seems to have
got it down to a pretty fine art.

You start dreaming of walls
and you start touching walls and you look at every surface
around you like, "That's not right.
That's right."

You never know how people
are gonna react in the morning. Some people don't look,
some people do look. But, I mean, really, as long as some
people are engaging, you know, that's all we want. We just want people to look at it
and read it, hopefully.

Finally on The Mix, I want to show
you this project called cellF. It was developed at SymbioticA, which is a biological art centre at
the University of Western Australia. It''s, well, pretty out-there.

MAN: (ON RECORDING) The doctors
told us that the chemicals might affect
certain glands and nerves and if they did, his features
would never be normal again... (ECHOES) ..normal again. (BRAINS BY JAM BAXTER PLAYS)

cellF is the world's first
neural synthesiser.

Its brain is made out of
a neural network - 100,000 neurons - that are growing over
a specialised interface that allows this network to control an array
of modular synthesisers.

Guy Ben-Ary creates music
with his own living brain cells. The catch is that the cells
are outside his body, in this thing.

It all starts with Guy
taking skin cells from his own arm. A biotechnologist then turns
the skin cells into stem cells, which are eventually turned into
neurons, or brain cells. And this cybernetic musician can
perform live with human musicians with a feedback loop between them
to create a post-human performance, or an improv or a jam session
between the human and nonhuman. Wow. I feel like I've been at
some of those jam sessions.

If you got lost somewhere there,
all you have to remember is that human musicians
feed the brain cells with music and the cells respond
through the synthesiser with their own brain cell music. This is what it sounds like. (DISCORDANT MEDLEY OF SYNTH

Yes, I know what you're thinking.
Why, Guy? Why? We got to the point where
we can engineer life and we are producing
quite a lot of new life forms. And I think that it's very important to look at it
from a cultural point of view. You know,
we're kind of using the technology, we're kind of trying to
problematise it, we're putting it out there
to generate a cultural discussion about where those technologies
are taking us. Or there's this
less complicated explanation. What I say about that
is the neurons are living my dream. (LAUGHS) What do you mean by that,
living YOUR dream? Becoming a rock star.
Oh, right. My neurons are, you know,
living my dream.

Well, that's all we've got time for. If you want to know more,
follow us on social media and check out
all of our great stories on the ABC Arts Channel on iview. We'll be back with a new season
on February 4th. I'm James Valentine.
I'll see you then.

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