Dreaming Bed

Butchers paper. Books. Many books. On Chinese art and symbols, Simon Schama's Landscape and Memory, history of China, history of Australia. Texta. Blutac. Pins. String. Brainstorming. The art of painting landscape and dreams. Time and space. Slow and quick. Big and small. 

A room with a view of a rock wall ("audacious wall") and trees. Trees. Many trees. And birds, millipedes, skinks, moths and butterflies. And down the hill a river. A glassy mirror. 

Contemplation of the changing light. Much staring into the bush. The hold of landscape on the imagination. Nature the bridge for a meeting across cultures, a recognition, a heart's knowing. Nature a mirror in which the familiar is reflected anew...

Two artists. Two paintings. Beds in the landscape. Young girls in white dresses disappearing through trees. The start of an idea. A bed in the bush.  How do we get the bed in the bush? Rain is forecast. A change of plan. A bed in a dark room, an intimate space - a dreaming space. A film and a Chinese lullaby. A book lies open on the bed. A pipe rests nearby - a discovered pipe, a Chinese miner's pipe dug from the soft earth by the river - a young girl's bounty immersed in story. Then a glimpse through the break in the curtains to red Chinese lanterns and a white dress disappearing through the trees - a young girl running away with her dream.

The beginnings of a story evoked, suggested. A work in progress. 

(As a result of almost two weeks residence through the Laughing Waters Artist in Residence Program at Birrarung, myself and Anna have the beginnings of Digging a Hole to China, an exciting new performance/installation project in the Australian landscape. As part of the residency we also had the opportunity to present a work in progress installation to delegates of Parks Victoria's Healthy Parks Healthy People Congress on Wed 14 April.)  

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Digging a Hole to China - Laughing Waters Artist in Residence

Have arrived at Birrarung with a shovel ready to start digging.

In the early hours of last Wednesday morning, Anna and I strapped the sections of the brass double bed onto the roof rack of the Subaru Forester. Two hours into the trip, bubble wrap littered the Hume and the bed had shifted to one side of the roof… needless to say, neither of us can tie knots! We pulled into a truck stop, the plan being that soon we would have a willing assistant. Sure enough – truckie Jason’s knots kept the bed on for the remaining 8 hours of the journey.

I like the drive to Melbourne, plenty of time to contemplate the changing landscape as it wallpapered our 110km/hr dash down the highway. Now to two weeks of being surrounded by it, living within it, and exploring it both metaphorically and in reality...

The space in which we’re living and working is a house designed by Graham Rose for the landscape designer, Gordon Ford back in the 70s - a mud brick, sandy yellow rendered house discreetly positioned in the bush. Every room has a view of trees and our studio, the “waterfall room” a glassed in space with Ford’s rock waterfall design the main feature. The house and land are owned by Parks Victoria and managed by Nillumbik Council as part of their Laughing Waters Artist in Residence program. A great initiative – a space inspired by the landscape in turn enabling the creation of a new work about the inspirational nature of landscape.

To date, walks have been had, birds have been sighted and named (I’m getting an education from Anna) – particularly the dead tree at the top of the hill colonised by Choughs and a pair of Hawks chasing off the Currawongs (or was it the other way around?) – as well as dark swamp wallabies and even a “hennaed” fox which Anna saw on her walk this evening. And we’ve found the perfect site for our work in progress showing on Wed 14...*

It’s a luxury to have the space and time to focus on the development of one's own project – an opportunity I have never had in my life before. It’s also a challenge – are we making the most of the time we have? Is it OK just to sit on your bum and think? How are we going to get that bed and the mattress down the gravely hill and through the bush to the perfect setting for next week’s showing..?

*It must be noted that we have also ventured out on important “research” trips to Yum Cha (Westlake on Little Bourke St) and Melbourne Comedy Festival shows in the city…in particular, Birdmann’s Birdmannia at the Melbourne Town Hall – catch a siting of this rare bird if you can!


Labels: , , , , , ,