I spent a few hours this week reviving a siphon flow from an upper level dam to the garden, the line runs five hundred metres through bush, among dead trees leaning on the living in slow gravitational embrace.
In the forest at dusk vision is no longer pressed by tonal contrasts, the lowlight brings a slow release of texture and colour. Delicate enough for the eyes to feel themselves seeing as twinned entities, spaces opening up where the camera lens has no reach. Eyes swell around trunk column, branch, leaf, stem, sky, foliage unfurling as lists without a syntax of light binding them to a surface.
Seeing in the waining light loses its usual bluster and becomes more recursive, reflecting on the scheme of attention one employs to hold something in ones orbit. A sort of visual neurosis conjured to stay afloat in an environment that offers no firm completely knowable surface. From Europe, Australia is pure nature to most people thinking of it. It isn’t a national culture that draws thoughts here, it’s a frontier, or an indigenous culture’s mystical connection with radical nature.
When gold was initially discovered west of Sydney, the governor of New South Wales wanted it hushed, fearing the mob of prospectors descending and putting at risk the delicate institutions of a colony in transition.
Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald, Topaz. Precious stones name Queensland towns, within a fluid transactional reality, an exchange value of precious stone, colour palette… pictogram.
Also designed as conduits the area names that surround us here were derived from a world war and used as cyphers for nation building: Amiens, Pozzieres, Paeschendale. Burial grounds, ‘crowds of the dead’ as Canetti called them, brought to symbolic life as a form of social cohesion and control, an overlay of narrative on an otherwise visceral reality.
family trees trace genes returning with something unique among the repetitive frequency of lived bodies. In this case the living lean on the dead. The discovery of an ancestor that acts on one like a brace insofar as it binds one to an event and an antecedent group of forebears. The visceral life, it’s sternness is lost in time and biology. Family history is underlaid by a static universe where genealogy becomes the map that takes over from the territory.