Tuesday, February 17, 2004

on the beach - landscape and language

OK, I did the presenting of Sea Shadow Land Light, the multimedia presentation that Annette Willis and I did for the On the Beach conference in Fremantle, run by the International Centre for Landscape and Language, Edith Cowan University.

No technical hitches, phew! SSLL was put together using Power Point on a Mac but it worked as well using the PC over west. Images and text, plus a little music. I also did an introductory paper which spoke of Annette's interest as a photographer in texture in the built and natural environment and our wish for the 'show' to work at different levels of scale and context.

All the images were of environmental textures at La Perouse, a bay-side suburb of Sydney, on Botany Bay. The traditional custodians of the land were the Goorawal people. It was the major point of first contact of white expeditions (Captain James Cook 1770 and then Governor Arthur Philip 1788) and Indigenous nations on Australia's east coast. The name La Perouse comes from Captain Jean-Francois de Galaup, Comte de Laperouse, who arrived there about a week after the First Fleet, sent by the French king Louis XVI to emulate the explorations of Cook in the Pacific. There is, of course, a lot more Sydney history there. Nowadays, LaPa is a favourite spot for Sydneysiders to dive, swim or relax. It is next to the huge port facility of Botany Bay as well. I won't go on, you get the drift.

Sea Shadow Land Light pulls between the abstract and the intimate, the close-up and a wider view. It isn't intended as representational but hints at haptic space, of touch as well as visual. The photographs were part of a colour series taken by Annette. She is also having an exhibition in late February of black and white prints featuring some examples of Sydney's old and fast-disappearing civic and industrial architecture, including Cockatoo Island Dockyard, North Head Quarantine Station, the Edwardian Male Public Toilet in Macquarie Place and the Sydney Brick Pits at St Peters.

The exhibition, Remnants, runs from Thursday 26 Feb until Sunday 7 March, Thurs-Sundays only @ Gallery East, 21 Burnie Street, Clovelly. At the close on 7 March at 3pm we'll have a poetry reading featuring my good self and Sydney poet Martin Langford. Keeping the image/text thing running.

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