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Residency in Soomaa NP – exploring my cultural heritage in Southern Estonia

During the European autumn of 2015 I spent a 3 weeks art residency at Mardu, in the Soomaa National Park, Southern Estonia.  You can read some journal extracts here, on the Mardu Talu website.

My residency at Mardu was part of a 3-month trip through Estonia and into Finland during Oct-Dec 2015 researching my connections to land and to my Estonian cultural heritage.


For a long time now I have been thinking of the artist as a conduit.

And more recently, about spoken language, and how it could be thought of as a link between the intellect (idea, imagination) and the sensual (living, nourishment, decay).

CutEndPaste / Articulate Project Space

I took part in the collaborative process show CutEndPaste at Articulate Project Space recently. The work pictured below is called “Clashing Leaves” and makes a clanging scratchy percussive noise when swinging. In this work I see a continuation of my interest in violence – violence as a gesture, and how it has its own particular way of cutting through things.



Buckingbong to Birrego: a walk of healing and hope

Over the weekend I participated in a 3-day walk through Wiradjuri country, near Narrandera – “Buckingbong to Birrego: a walk of healing and hope.” 
It was organised collaboratively by George Main, curator at National Museum of Australia, the Strong family private landholders, and The Cad Factory regional arts organisation. 
A diverse group of us walked, camping along the way, taking in conversations and talks with local farmers, indigenous elders and artists, specially commissioned site-specific artworks, and pre-created land art. As you can imagine, issues discussed reached far and wide and it was fascinating.
You can find more info on the Cad Factory website.
I’m not the biggest fan of verbal expression (doing it myself), but in an attempt to provide some bits of feedback and material for the Cad Factory to collate, I’ve written down a few initial thoughts below in response to the walk:

Science is myth-making, religion is myth-making, art is myth-making.
By enacting this gesture – walking across the land – we create new myths… In each step something new unfolds and becomes part of the larger picture.

As I walked, I came across more and more people with different perspectives, the sun winding its arc across the sky, spinning my shadow slowly around me.
I came across plants of all sorts – “natives”, “weeds”, huge old trees, groundcovers hard and crunchy, scorched, like ice, grasses, scratchy, attaching their seed heads to our shoes, or as part of a soft undulating field. Who knows how all these plants arrived, but here they are all equals.
The earth changed colour and texture, the breeze came and went, conversations came and went. Our bunch was like an elastic band, stretching this way and that.
Sometimes others would walk right behind me and their footsteps became inaudible – all I could hear were my own.
Always the sound of footsteps.

I arrived at a new place – I’d never been to this land before – and there was an awful violent history that was being spoken about. It made me think of my own cultural heritage. -The violence that had been inflicted upon my own family members. There too, the land had been a witness to those events, and became part of those events.

A myth forms reality, it keeps folding upon itself to create structure.

Lorraine told us how uncomfortable, how awkward, she felt, being part of this project, this walk of “healing and hope”.

I listened to the clarity of private landholder Graham speaking about his work with the land, and I felt suddenly – a new understanding, the sense of a new beat in my core – what it meant to be a custodian of the land, the responsibility that came with that. Graham made his connection to that palpable.

The animals too. I heard the sheep being spoken of as “maggot-carrying scum”. All are equal here now.

There is something about walking – like swinging a set of scales, like a heart pumping blood round its looped circuits, like the wind eroding layers off the earth – reflexive, cycling, unpredictable, self-perpetuating, with its own laws of balance, ever-changing.
Nothing to do but walk.

Just now I typed “Poison Creek” into Google to find the exact name used for a place we visited on Saturday. So many “Poison Creeks” from all around Australia came up on the screen that it took me some time to find the one I was looking for.



4 Rituals #1 Preparation / Snake Nation Projects

Yesterday I performed this work at Snake Nation in Newcastle. See images of the work here. See artist statement below.


4 Rituals: #1 Preparation:  As an artist, I feel what I offer to the world is my hands.  For me, the role of the artist is to give and receive unconditionally.  Please accept the expression of my self through my hands.  I offer them to you freely.  It is also the role of the artist to cultivate inner listening.  I do this whilst giving to the world.  I’d like to perform this sustained gesture through the changing light of the day.  I’ve chosen to perform this over an eight-hour period to reflect a standard work-day.

Fair Isle / Articulate Project Space

Last week I participated in the Fair Isle project at Articulate Project Space in Sydney (full documentation of the month-long project on their blog). Articulate is a great artspace with great spirit.

Check out documentation of my two works as part of the show: You and Live Here. See artist statements below.

Floor Elecricity Step labels

You:  I was open and broken. I wanted to speak honestly with the world around me. To form the words, sound them. To let my voice exist, let it be met. Like a communion. That was a comforting thought.

Live Here:  My most real, most constant desires – for my body to feel the earth, fire, warmth, sun, air… comforts, discomforts. What is my response to this space, objects and surfaces? To bring here a place for myself.