Matterings

Scribe: Leaf is Art, 2020
Video

One day...looking out of the kitchen window...

Sunlight on Kitchen Wall, 2017
Digital photograph

One of those random things you happen to notice.

H[A]UNTED (3 soundings, 3 responses), 2017
Video

The raw truths of what happened in Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) during British colonisation — the extreme cruelty and violence, persecution and killing of the Aboriginal people who had lived here for c.60,000 years — have been buried by the authors of history for far too long.

'Marathon' and its surrounds were part of the hunting ground of notorious bounty hunter John Batman, who lived nearby at the property called 'Kingston'. History has lauded Batman as a co-founder of Melbourne, however even George Arthur, Colonial Governor of Van Diemen's Land from 1824 to 1837, acknowledged that John Batman '...had much slaughter to account for' (of Aboriginal people).

(This video was produced as part of the 3-year Marathon Project and was included in The Marathon Project Exhibition 2017, Academy Gallery, Launceston, Tasmania, 7–27 October 2017)

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Handle with Care, 2016

Digital photographs (old picture frame, cotton gloves, labels, typewritten text: 'AUTHORISED BY THE GLOVERER')


Where is art? Is it always something that is made and presented? Or can it also be something that presents itself to anyone, anywhere, at any time? How and why do we handle and care for it? Drawing on Marathon and Glover, these works document a playful Fluxus-like approach to the tensions these questions create.


(This work was part of the 3-year Marathon Project. John Glover (1767-1849) was an artist who lived at Patterdale, the adjacent property to Marathon. He became known for his paintings of the Tasmanian landscape.)

The Amber Moment: a landscape painting, 2012
Video
Sometimes the ‘matterings’ challenge general definitions of art forms, such as The Amber Moment: a landscape painting (2012). This is a simple unedited real-time recording of the view from my bed during the hour before dawn...the amber moment...just as the amber light of traffic signals tells us to wait, so does the amber moment...it is not yet time to get up...something paints while something waits...as time passes, what we see is a landscape painting itself. It is a landscape painting.

Silentium in Situ Transversa Concorda (a landscape painting), 2013
Video

This footage shows another landscape painting itself. This is a simple recording of the river where I live. In situ. It is silent but to me it is not silent ... in the original footage (a more traditional horizontal landscape), the play of light seemed to sing a melody. Now, turned 90 degrees, this light seems to have become harmony.
(The footage is deliberately masked and rotated.)

Red Ball World, 2013
Video

I was making crab apple wine... stirring and stirring. As I gazed into the bucket, it seemed like a world, a shifting world. A world heating...

(The footage is deliberately masked.)

Interia fugit irreparabile tempus, 2013
Video

Just a fan. Just a bedside clock. And you realise time is escaping.

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L'incongruité de la langue I, 2011
Digital photographs

As The This Project (in the 'Soundings' section) got underway, I woke up one morning with the words l’incongruité de la langue sounding in my head. This was surprising as I only have very little knowledge of French. I became curious. What could it mean? Why should language be ‘incongruous’? I discovered that la langue, in French, means not only ‘language’ but also ‘tongue’, and this was my first playful investigation into the difficulties of language and communication.

L'incongruite de la langue IV: I'm talking to you...can you hear me?, 2012
Video

I had just transferred some homemade wine into two demijohns when the airlocks reminded me of 'l’incongruité de la langue', the incongruity of language that leads to miscommunication, misinterpretation, how what we would like to say is often somehow caught somewhere within us and renders us silent. This light-hearted real-time footage of the two jars trying to converse, ‘I’m talking to you…can you hear me?’ captures this moment, like two human forms wearing rather quirky hats.

In Plato's Wake, 2013
Video

In Launceston, the River Tamar frequently chokes up with sediment and it used to be raked. Often this raking occurred at night, and the vessel shone a bright light onto the riverside suburbs. Captivated by shadows cast by the vessel as they passed slowly across the wall of my room, I thought of Plato’s Cave, and imagined what the sounds would be like underwater.

L'incongruité de la langue V (Sediment), 2013
Video

In Launceston, the River Tamar frequently chokes up with sediment and it used to be raked. Often this raking occurred at night, and the vessel shone a bright light onto the riverside suburbs, giving me a chance to record the shadows cast by the vessel as they passed slowly across the wall of my room. Sometimes the vessel had to stop its activities due to clogging. According to one article published in the local newspaper, it ‘dragged up an extraordinary amount of rubbish, including dog poo in plastic bags and so many tampons and strings that the raking equipment had to be taken away and unclogged’. I pondered what it might be like under the surface of the river in the presence of all that detritus. I recalled how, as a young child, my older sister and I would go swimming and talk to each other under water, giggling with the bubbles. These thoughts gave me the soundtrack which was a recording of me trying to say ‘dog poo bags and tampon strings’ under water.

L'Incongruité de la Langue #3, 2012
Video

Something about the difficulties of assimilating knowledge and/or making a sentence. Playing with the ribbon made for Coffee and Proust (see 'Soundings' section).

Every pout, every smile, every word, every kiss, 2012

A video made in 2012 for Red Lips: What is Your Version for Me?, Massachusetts, USA [curator: Christine Tarantino, who had invited people to make red lips for her]

You Are in my Sights (Missing Mountain Lost Dreaming), 2012

When work started on two new houses that were going to block my view of the mountain, contemplating this issue led to this constructed 'dream sequence', including imaginary 'deer'. The soundtrack is comprised of recorded sounds from the builders' activities, and environmental sounds including sparrows and a peacock, my ‘silence’ at that time.

Flying Experiments #1–3, 2012
Video

Other works that emerged from The This Project (see 'Soundings' section) was a series of ‘flying experiments’. For instance, having discovered a feather in my garage one day, I was curious to see if it could fly. The word ‘go’ had been contributed to the project, leading to a rather more complex yellow stickie than others (rather than putting merely ‘go this’ on the stickie I had referred to a dictionary and added every word that goes with ‘go’). After filming the feather (Feather Selected for Flying Experiment, 2012), as it was a windy day, I stuck the stickie to the feather and let it go.

Modalities of Presence #1–#6, 2013
Video

The videos in the Modalities of Presence series are a playful exploration of 'being in the moment' but also an 'empathy game' (despite the images being of my own body: eye, foot, mouth, ear, hands and nose). I wrote the words by hand on a graphics tablet, capturing the screen non-stop in real time. In the process of making, no script was written or followed. No preconceived idea of associations was rehearsed. This Zen-like approach, reducing ego as much as possible, meant that whatever came to mind was what was written, and the screen capture records the moments of hesitation awaiting the next emergence.

Dehiscence, 2012
Video

This work is a simple expression of the contemplation of form and touch:
"...a sort of dehiscence opens my body in two, and because between my body looked at and my body looking, my body touched and my body touching, there is overlapping or encroachment, so that we must say that the things pass into us as well as we into the things." (Merleau-Ponty, M. 1968, The Visible and the Invisible, Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Illinois, p. 123.)
"Form is emptiness; emptiness is form." (Heart Sutra, Mahayana Buddhism)

I Remember What the World is Like, 2012
Video

A fan. A body. Breath uncertain. The world beyond the fan — blue glint in the trees is a glimpse of hope.

Building Cloud Garden, 2012
Video

Well, you know how it is...you wake up, hair all over the place, and a random piece of fluff has appeared on your head. Then a phrase pops into your mind... [Something to do with how sometimes things seem a bit like other things...]

Playing with Matches, 2013
Video

A random discovery in my garden one day... matches playing in an old ashtray...