Flotsam on the Clyde

February 20, 2017 § Leave a comment

Yesterday a walk on the shores of the Clyde River at Helensburg, waters which feed into the firth of Clyde. There were many mussel shells, empty and brittle, cracking beneath foot, creating smaller pieces still on their way to sand. Lots of detritus, industrial, from the maritimes. Sea glass, all shades of green that I could see.

Inspired by shapes here, voids, the nesting of items together and items out of their natural element. The colours muted, with gradients. I like the idea of slipways. The idea of boueys adrift, unanchored. What is it to be ‘unanchored’ or set adfrift? Cast away, come loose?  Unsecure, lost, lost at sea. Never making it to sea.

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This is Spiritual and Physical: Seventh Gallery

April 3, 2016 § Leave a comment

My work This is Spiritual and Physical is showing at Seventh Gallery in Melbourne, through to 15 April 2016. Thank you to Kate Clark for her work on the soundscape.

This is Spiritual and Physical presents video shot in Scotland and Iceland over several years that documents farming and rural life and sites of pilgrimage. The imagery explores the physical and aesthetic characteristics of landscape use for work and that which is visited for its spiritual significance, and aims to elucidate the correspondence between the output of the work generated by a body performing repetitive labour and that generated by spiritual pilgrimage.

This is Spiritual and Physical, HD video with sound, 19m 16s, 2016. Stills:

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Songs

September 27, 2015 § Leave a comment

I sing, an improvisation of sorts, within a five-domed concrete sculpture Tvisongur by Lukas Khne. Each dome produces a different tone, and the sculpture can be seen as a visualization of the five-tone harmony tradition. Tvisongur is in Seydisfjordur in the east fjords of Iceland. It is a 15 min hike up the side of a hill.

I took longer recordings, to be used as sound for an upcoming video work.

nomorepotlucks: Blood Work: Magdalena Olszanowski – Marlaina Read

June 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

I first encountered Magda’s work in 1996, when, as young women, we experimented with self-imaging practices and maintained popular websites – before the internet boom in which social networking and blogging platforms emerged. We both went on to develop our artistic and academic practices in the context of the institutionalized art world, but have continued to share and collaborate. Her ongoing series of work that started in 2005 depicts menstruation. It draws on ideas of transgression, the abject, and boundaries, and it displays a playfulness often missing from discourse around the female body.

Olszanowski’s work was initially a response to the Cartesian history of prioritizing the disembodied self and the established scientific discourse based on intellectual detachment, rationality, and objectivity – leaving the state of corporeality and the body as irrational, uncontrolled, and menstruating. In this misogynist discourse, much extended by Freud, corporeality belongs to the feminine, producing the woman as dangerous and fleshy. Like much feminist work, such as Valerie Solanas’s SCUM Manifesto, Magda’s work welcomes the dangerous and fleshy self. We shared a lengthy conversation across many time zones focused on her history with menstruation, her work, and the importance of leading an embodied practice.

Read more at nomorepotlucks

Blood Work: Magdalena Olszanowski

Blood Work: Magdalena Olszanowski

Farmers etc

November 21, 2014 § 1 Comment

I am still set on my idea of wayfinding and placemarking as the topic for any eventual PhD I attempt to do. I am still going through all the images from my trip to Finland, Scotland and Iceland.

There is this residency in the Arctic I have been eyeing off for years. Maybe this is the time I actually apply. I don’t know.

The below are all from series Farmers 2014.

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Monuments to decay

August 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Monuments to decay, installation, hand gathered wildflowers, deadwood and ruins. Mustarinda, Finland 2014.

Looking forward to showing similar work in Adelaide in early October.

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Camera. Finland and the mist.

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.

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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:

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