“ ……The earth rises from the shore

A human figure slopes up from the ground

Its toes touch to toes of its mirror image

Another human figure facing it

The bottom half of the figure is cut into the earth and filled with water

That has streamed inland

The top half of the figure is a plane of grass

That stretches offshore and descends underwater,

The monuments have been brought down to earth

And made part of the land and water ……’

Vito Acconci


The image of my feet meeting the threshold of St. Augustine’s Old School House on day one of my residency, was a thought that has propelled me through the recent sensory onslaught of intensive work over several creative projects since February this year. The view of an expanse of varnished wooden floor in the space activated the full capacity of weight carried and tensioned in my back, folding my belly inwards and down, now releasing my shoulders that had inched higher.  The extent of my lungs breathed out, teasing out the markers of my physical and mental depletion and as I began assessing the rebuild of my structural integrity. I agreed with gravity of the space, laid my bones down and melted into the wooden floor. My spine ached and eventually relinquished and took in the terrain. Reset.

The sparse walls and ribbed beams, wrapped me in an architectural body of solitude when I needed it most. Time to slow, suspend and decompress; now opening space to question my creative intention what it really means to be within the space, not just to become another exercise of cultural display but a lasting progression and development in the work that is gaining ground within my practice philosophy.

My approach to the residency space comes as an inversion of ecclesiastical high mindedness of the monastic heritage of St. Augustine’s location; to consider down, what’s below or underfoot; though a process of retraction and editing, austerity and discipline finding focus in the grounded needs in effort and physical movement as conditions to settle the physical connection to the body in our changing environment and social contexts. The transformation of materials through skill, inhabiting risk and refined body memory, have since found a place that has intensified my practice of sculpture, ceramics and installation with a process of interactions and performance; a wild cannon of energy that feels in my bones to predate the building here itself and belongs in the geological foundations running deeper, more primal and ancient below the surface of my skin and in sparks the mineral content of my cells. This energy is forming a shape shifting mass, it inhabits the same space as me, the same skin, it then will move to look down on me, then shifts standing in front looking back, forcing me to ask questions of boundaries and borders where life art, nature and culture in a social context have become more permeable and felt, how manifesting through me this work, transforms how I choose to live and why. Reform.

The white noise tinnitus has softened a few days into the residency ; the space and I have been circling each other, walking the boards, climbing the walls, testing the cracks in each others navigation and balance. What’s reflected back is how unsure I am underfoot within the confines of the city context, how the cracks and  cultural spills of sound entering into the space by way of the Maiden City Festival and Apprentice Boys Parade and slipping political slogans from over the Walls are potent and high volume that can run through you like sirens. I loose balance not sure where to take place the next step. I get up and try again.

I keep redacting and editing my relationship to this city, a perpherial inhabitant all my life, keep falling into speculations as to what’s goes into the creation of people, their social culture the what’s healthy consumption of cultural identity. As I lie on the floor of St. Augustine’s; the dank, gravestones outside cross my mind, their weight pressing, their heft of stone and imagine its gravity of material laid on top of my bones. A body laden and loaded, bodies constructed so far from nature, do we continue to carry or offload? Recalibrate.

Being contained here in the whiteness of the space, has begun a steeping process: forming, mutating, I am growing into this project like a rhizome. Unearthing ways to reroute or dissolve myself into the work. Reset, reform, recalibrate have become grappling ground of ideas and process in practice and the elemental formations of this ongoing project.

I am quite sure this is a new beginning but I have lived here before.


[ You are now present, proceed to week 2]