Monday, June 27, 2016

Willow Court; New Norfolk, Part 2 Dark Mofo

I have already written about how intrigued I was to see inside Willow Court (willow court) during Dark Mofo.

As usual the information given to the public regarding actual festival events is cryptic.  This years program had 12 pages of large photos followed by the same listings as their website.  For this Willow Court exhibition the information was that "Mike Parr seminal Australian performance artist pushed to him limits in and around the grounds of the former Royal Derwent Hospital". There was also an aspect called 'Entry by Mirror Only' which is why you see mirrors in the photos.  Each entrant was meant to leave a mirror behind.  
I expected this would be harsh performance art.  I like a lot of performance art, but I feel I have had enough harsh experiences in my life that I do not need to be jarred or reminded about them.  I skipped the performance itself.  Still, I didn't expect the any of the buildings to be as creepy as they were-
I found the smaller rooms (cell like) and the shower blocks (that brought to mind horrible hydrotherapy scenes in many a portrayal of "taming female hysteria" from books, films, and television) to be especially nightmarish. I do not think I would have be able to sit through anything additional.

The buildings seemed abandoned. I expected an organized exit, A business that had cleared out, cleaned up and left its premises empty.
Instead there was a lot of possum shit, dirt, debris, broken ceiling tiles, and a general air of danger (and not the good kind).

Although I only use an iphone, normally my photos come out fairly well- none of the photos I took inside the Willow Court building came out any better than the two above.  I suppose the light was lower than I perceived.
I am not a 'ghost' person.  I like the idea just fine as a literary device but as an actual mythology-? No. Yet, I have to say there are buildings there that I could only imagine grazing to the ground and rebuilding.  I thought I would find a neglected industrial space that just needed to be cleaned and re-purposed.
My curiosity however is satisfied.
I didn't even leave my mirror behind, I did not want to add trash to misery, which was the thought that came to mind when I thought about leaving my small compact.


Sunday, June 19, 2016

and I listen to your architectural tongues

Driving from our home to many places beyond town- or North of us involve passing this fountain.  The fountain is in the middle of a roundabout, on what serves as a highway here.  It is below the level of the street so really what you can see is the fountain from that top circle, or platform.  I have never bothered to go through the tunnels underneath.  The only time I have been out of my car in this area has been on skates or my bike.  
There were a couple of art pieces for Dark Mofo in the tunnels so we parked in town and walked this way to Dark Park. Dark Park is the free installation area.  Each year they take over one of the large sheds and open area which is maybe part of the docks normally.  There is a bar, food trucks, and the installations. 
After going to the Venice Biennale I have viewed Dark Mofo to have the same sort of set up, with art dispersed through the city.  Of course, it is smaller here so they have rightly added in music, performance and movies as well.

The fountain is lit red because that seems to be the theme via Dark Mofo, many businesses light up their stores or create a red themed window as what I assume is a sort of city wide support because many people (myself included) are happy with the impact of MONA and their festivals on our town.

I like the chance to walk around town with other people.  I am usually alone and town has some really interesting architecture and history.

Here are some other photos:

The day was so grey that I thought I had never noticed that the cross of this church was cut through the stone.  But my gf of course pointed out that it was only an optical illusion.

I have always thought the above building looks like it belongs in Edinburgh, Scotland.  

I love that there are a few of these buildings that look like factories from another time area also still in town.  There are a few new large, modern buildings getting crammed in.  Both I think are housing or some type of expansion for the University.  I feel that expanding University can only be for the good, but so far I am underwhelmed by how the buildings look.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"Without a Face"

Here we are in the thrall of winter.  A good time for thinking, reading, reflection.
Which is my explanation of where my time has gone.  It is easy to feel days go by quickly when the light goes by 4:30 p.m.

Last year at this same time (Dark Mofo Festival) my GF and I saw posters up of a campaign we had both pledged to via Australia's version of Kickstarter, 'Pozible'.

A young artist named Peter Drew (he is interesting, you should go read about him here: Peter Drew)

They were street posters that stated "Real Australians Say Welcome".
Because Australia has a low population, our nation wide coverage is more like coverage of one large state- or at it's largest the entire east coast of the U.S.
Also the continent is an island so people trying to seek asylum come by sea, this complicates the issue quite a bit.  
I think about immigration for many reasons, I am an immigrate who came from immigrates (although further back on my fathers side than I realised until recently) and I married a man whose whole family immigrated.  We, both, are advantageous in the fact that we are allowed to live in two countries.

We are very, very advantageous because we had a choice.
But many do not.

Peter Drews' latest series of posters is about creating folk heroes that are less recognised in Australia. He has been putting poster around Tasmania, and tomorrow with the start (of my) Dark Mofo events, I hope to find more of them up.  Including my favourite Dorothy Choon.
He has set me back to a place of gratitude and back onto a path to explore more Australian history.

Also this thinking about immigration is compounded by the fact that I am reading 'The Gene' An Intimage History by Siddhartha Mukherjee.  I had just heard him interviewed on The New Yorker Radio Hour when I came across his book. I think the book is an essential read.