December 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

Farmers—the cult of work, the mythology of spiritual lands and the ritual of repetitive action.

In any case we have machines and houses and we are all safe. The first image has the midnight sun, or midnight twilight.

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Midnight Sun

July 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

For M.

When I was in Iceland, towards the end of May, the time between sunset and sunrise became smaller each day. We used to look at the weather report and see the times inch closer to each other. The period of “night” became something like an hour or an hour and a half before I left, a quiet blue.

It feels here that it becomes “dark” or the point of least incidental light at around 12:30pm. The pull towards darkness begins at about 10:30pm when you see the long point of the sun just above the horizon and this shear of light gleams across everything and passes over the tops of the trees outside my window. There is a slice of peach to pink to purple in the sky then, sitting against the horizon, soft and beckoning, before it fades to the beautiful blue.

That blue colour draws down from the top most point of the sky, the shift is slow but total. The trees change colour, the ground changes colour, as does the building. There is a sheen of blue almost like an aura, and it surrounds everything. The contrast is low, and some far away objects become indistinct. Even sounds feel like they become blue, or crisper, with the slightest metallic edge. The wind in the trees carries and it sounds like water against the shore.

But there is still the light. The sky is opaque, that is how it feels, or like a pearl with that gleam, perhaps like blown glass –  it has this colour as if it were an object and I could place my hand against it.  There is enough light that bees still work amongst the flowers. The light promotes a restlessness. i am constantly looking through my blinds, watching the shift, trying to recognise the point when it is dark.

The air is cooler of course, and being outside at this time confuses me. The ground is cool against my feet, it is very quiet and still. My mind recognises the signs that say this is darkness, but of course it is not. i want to explore but I am scared. I do not know if animals are affected – do they come out at this time, are they less afraid? What might i fail to see? But I am also drawn – these blues are hypnotic.

I am scared my cameras will not capture this light. I have taken some with the phone camera, but they do not show the blue as all pervasive. These were taken variously from 10:30pm and 12:30pm last night.

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Näkötorni, Luontopolku ja Ypykänlampi

July 6, 2014 § 2 Comments

I have arrived at Mustarinda in Finland after almost three days of travel (while sick)… aspects of which I would rather not go into again.

i had the obligatory first time to the supermarket, where, as I had come to expect I would need to rely on pictures only as words in finnish give no clues as to what they might be. To me most of the words look the same, they are long with repeated letters. I took a gamble on the 1l milk packs and bought buttermilk instead of actual milk of course.

kitchen mustarinda sauna room 3am night

Above is the house (an old school). The house is powered by geothermal and is almost completely self-sustainable. There is a permaculture garden.

My room is quaint and thoroughly Finnish i have been told. There is the 3am sun (its 24 hour daylight at the moment) and my crude rig to fashion some darkness.

I have still been getting over my cold/flu so my activities have been confined to cooking, reading and walking. Mustarinda has three short nature walks starting about 250m from the house. I took the first two, red and green. I want to do the blue in the midnight sun.

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The red walk takes you to an observation tower where you have a 360 degree view of the surrounding forest. There are three main types of trees in Finland, the pine, the birch and spruce. They tend to grow homogeneously but a forest can sometimes support a second species. It tends to be pine/birch here. The birches make the most beautiful sound in the wind.

I took the 6km round walk to the nearest lake. There were some abandoned sites on the way which have given me some ideas for artworks, as have some of the forest sounds. As it is so isolated here they is no traffic noise, or towns/people. In some respects the forest seems like a rainforest, but one of a cool climate. Up here in the Kainuu in northern finland is a sort of microclimate. It seems to have a summer for about 3 months then on either side the ascent/descent to winter. Wintertime looks beautiful in pictures i have seen but I imagine it would be even more remote.

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At the moment I feel a little glum, but that is general for me when going to a new place and not having my usual supports around me or the distraction of work and friends. This time around of course I meet someone before I go away, and so of course this influences my moods. I am thankful this time the relationship is kinder and gives me great good feelings and thoughts of the future. Previous times have been punctuated with the messiest and darkest of ‘relationships’ which marked a lot of the happiness and productivity I wanted to experience.

i am still not sure what my outcomes here will be. I want to visit the nearby Talvivaara mining site, which I might have to wait for when Steve comes to visit so I can beg him to drive me (Steve is visiting as a side trip to his work making collaborative residencies between rural scandanavia and country south australia). I hope to make inroads with some locals so I can accompany some tree fellers on their work, as logging and forestry industries are a large employer and part of the GDP in Finland.

Then there is research, trying to figure out how to make and isolate aspects of nature – how to make mist convincingly? It mists here sometimes around 11pm if there is overcast skies. How to make site-specific sound works, where to get charcoal.

Walking helps with fleshing out ideas, its just up to me to become more process driven, to experiment and to have structure in my day to support my working style and allow me to look at working in new ways. i have not taken an image with my film cameras yet. The midnight light is beautiful but at the moment I am very tired and mostly sleeping/trying to sleep then.

So, I am not fully in my element yet. The remoteness scares me a little, there are less people here (6 artists at most really) than at NES, and we are not in the town. There is no public transport to town so it is planned weekly excursions and whenever you can jump in someone’s ride.

On the drive in we had to stop on the road for Reindeer to wander across. There are bikes, but it is still 25km to town and a lot on dirt road. i am going to have to be very resourceful and be active in managing my mental health, along with my research and projects.

Here is a useful schematic:

bear

the year of movement

January 4, 2014 § Leave a comment

Erik, Ann and I drove to Adelaide, down and across the hay plain and the Mallee highway. We stayed the night in Hay. It rained, I think my first experience of rain in this part of the country The hotel in Hay had a spa, which was a welcome after the heat of driving. We had breakfast on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River.

This holidays in Adelaide has been nice. Spending time with Becci and Jess and Piet, going to wineries, swimming at Seaford among the rocks, going to Semaphore and the old art deco Odeon Star cinema, Moonlight Cinema. A glorious sky on New Years Eve. Seeing family of course.

I have been very lucky with my travel and residencies for this year of 2014. Exhibitions and grants too, which I feel powerful and capable to have pursued on my own steam. Just my work to show, no favours or relying on people who want things in return for their favour, no ‘advanced’ networking. I am so happy with Invisible City, and have a new appreciation for sound work, having met some amazing composers and musicians in Iceland, carrying through…

I am excited to see Noel and Linda and Shaun and Yogan again this year, at the very least, while I am in Europe. 2014, the year of movement.

Here are images from our trip across Australia.

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The hotel in Hay, and the rain.

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Breakfast on the Murrimbidgee, beautiful Erik and Ann.

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In adelaide, sunset from my window, the bike kitchen (my little bike in white), Semaphore, the sky of the last evening of 2013.

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and myself… and my new camera…

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INVISIBLE CITY ISSUE 07 REMOTE

November 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

sarah burwash
Jessica Tremp || Nora Wendl & Jeremy Hanson || Lidia Malynowskyj || Léa Donnan || Alex Hogan || Marianne Dages || Lee Salomone || Philippe Braquenier || Margaret Bowes || Philip Samartzis || Sarah Burwash || Andrew Ranville || Rashanna Rashied-Walker || Melody Woodnutt & Judy Thomas || Justin Apperley || Stephen John Ellis || Katelyn Clark || Yongjae Kim

Cover image by Sarah Burwash

Download the issue at http://invisiblecity.org

INVISIBLE CITY is an online magazine dedicated to showcasing contemporary visual art, sound and film by emerging artists from Australia and around the world. Issues are themed (sometimes). 

All the lights which can be seen at the same time

August 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

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The shape of mountains. The weight of mountains. Stand at the base, the summit, the precipice. See how the clouds bend around the mountains? See how the light falls through and down, cascading like water. So many aspects seen at once. How everything changes.

COLLIDON

July 9, 2013 § Leave a comment

collidon iceeee ridges
Adventures in film-based processing.

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