The search to understand our aqueous inner world begins on the unwelcoming steppe of dryland. The title of this exhibition references the opportunity to celebrate a meeting place and dialogue between saltwater and freshwater people: a cultural analogy sometimes used to describe the traditional and contemporary relationship of indigenous and non-indigenous Australians to water.
Bibbulman artist Toogarr Morrison comments on the freshwater|saltwater relationship. He reminds me that freshwater gives life, replenishes and hydrates. The ocean on the other hand is the place where you go if you have something to heal. It is a place for the sick and injured. He also made the comment that the sea never changes. I was confused and he explained further. The ocean always sings the same song he told me, no matter what the season. Bodies of freshwater change with the season and have many volumes, sounds and rythmns. A beautiful and powerful revelation.
I exhibited 'The To and Fro', 2007 (Screening Time 00;24;17) as a starting point for further discussion and water-works as part of an artist residency at the Central TAFE Gallery. The piece was a collection of short studies documenting my own personal documentation of travelling with bodies of water boating along the canals of Bristol UK 2004; observing the changing billabongs of Walpole AU 2006; dancing with the puddles of Manchester UK 2005; sailing the fiords from the harbour of Oslo NO 2004; riding passed the rivers of the Alcase FR 2006; relaxing in the spas in Karlsrue DE 2006 and performing on the south quay of Penzance UK 2006.
Comparing the desert-notion of time and oceans with visiting Researcher-in-Residence at ECU and philosopher-in-action Prof. Shannon Bell from York University Canada, we set off to the Western Australian ancient Pinnacles with WWII gas-masks, lycra and desert boots with photographer David Hocking for impromptu performance and exploration. The result was a series of neo-human or post-apocalyptic yet visceral crawlings across the sand and rocks - some filmed and others photographed. The artifacts retained an uneasy quality. It is as if the remenent of the process was devoid of the both the saltwater and freshwater logic, and our performances were the dehydrated version of something once alive and furtile. Was this the deliberate or subconcious point? It was difficult to arrive at a clear reading of our act/action/activism. I trust I will come to learn more of the peculiarities of this kind of philosophy-in-action.
Bell writes in her blog FastBodies: Sarah Jane Pell and I did a pretty visually acute crawl through the ancient phallic desert rock structures. Wearing light beige Russian gas masks, blond hair out at the back, black body suits we crawled across the pinnacle sandscape, crossing bodies, entangling and separating as it rained, as the sun briefly shone and as the sun set behind a cloud... I think we have something. The emptiness of the pinnacle sandscape, the skull masks, the black body suits, the back drop of the Indian Ocean, the large, medium and small phallic rock structures, yellow sand. Yesterday I swam a kilometer in the outdoor pool in heavy rain - no lightening. The ions from the rain energized the water. And for most of the time I was the only swimmer in the 9 lane, 50 meter pool. Rushed to shoot the sound of the Indian Ocean crashing in yesterday aft, navy sky - dropped my camera - the screen will not registered an image.