On a heading to Shell Refinery (Photos selecting for printing and exhibition)
The Night Walk – the exhibition selection (Photos selected for printing and exhibition)
Third Response- Canoe’s Journey, to be mixed media (painted background with photo overlay) – Initial labyrinths and background
April/May – Project ideas (to discuss with Meme/Cameron)
1. Photo survey of the walk and/or walking circles – taken of each site at the time of day when the actual walk will occur.
2. Night photographs of the industrial area and other night sections of the walk. (I have, for some years, taken night photos, especially of Corio Bay.) This would be produced as a series of prints and/or a digital presentation for the M~M website. (This became Creative Project 2, above)
3. Botanical specimens. Finding/photographing/making prints of indigenous plants at each of the 12 walking circles. The might end up as an artist book, or a series of framed prints, with supporting photographs and other documentation.
4. Circle imprints (Project suggested by Meme MacDonald – who is particularly interested in the impressions that will be left on the site after the installations have been removed.) A series of 3 photographs for each song circle, each taken from the same position. These are before – the pristine site, during – the walkers interacting with the circle art installation, after – the site a day or so after the installation has been removed. (This became Project 4 above)
Project chosen is 4 – Circle imprints – what is left when the event is over.
May – Ephemera in art –
M~M is an ephemeral project. It is a collaboration of many people – artists of many types, and a host of other people whose purpose is to facilitate the event. Despite documentation, by May 11th, little physical trace of M~M will remain. However, the impact on those who participate may be huge.
The photographing of the sites of the walking circles before, during and after the installations have been removed will be a record of the event. However, any recording is ancillary to M~M itself.
I wish to explore the purposes of this event – as art, the spirituality of the event to participants, and a community building experience. I also wish to compare this with ‘permanent’ visual art – art which is made for the long term. How does this ephemera contrast with modern man’s desire to ‘put art on a pedestal’. Ever increasing prices for the art of some artists, periods and for some works, whether new or old, have a real effect on how art is viewed.
Creativity creating art has evolved over many millennia – from expressions of spirituality to ‘art for art’s sake’. Art remains an ephemeral experience. We only really experience art in the present, whether we are making or experiencing art as viewer or audience. However, one of the wonders of the mind is that we can re-experience the work through our memories.
The creative pathway
1. Walking circle photographs – before the event
- Friday, May 2nd and Saturday, May 3rd – initial walking circle photos taken of sites 1-6. Location shots taken to show exact position of photographer. Photos edited for quality. Web copies made.
- Note: Due to car problems on Friday March 24th, I was not able to photograph the You Yangs site before work began on the song circle (March 25th) – the before circle photos contain some evidence of the story circle (dead wood fence, weed clearance).
2. Walking Circle photographs – during the event
- Due to my commitments on the day, I was not able to take good quality photos of the walking circles during the event (I arrived at most circles with the last walkers so there was no time to stop for more than a minute or two before moving off again.)
- Check with the artists, District Coordinators and Geelong Camera Club (official photographers) for access to their images.
- Point Lonsdale Circle – this circle (a sandstone sculpture) was sited in a different location from the original plan so the pre-photograph was incorrect.
3. Walking Circle photographs – after the event
- Sunday, May 11th, Monday, May 12th, photographs taken at all sites (except Point Lonsdale).
- Little evidence of walkers (except at Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads – footprints in sand).
- Circle is evident at Big Rock (ochre and chalk), Ocean Grove (sand sculpture partially washed away by tide, lots of footprints but mounds still remain), Barwon Heads (sand – somewhat dissipated by footprints) – people walking labyrinths at Big Road and Barwon Heads.
- Friday, May 16th, photographs taken at Big Rock, Limeburner’s Lagoon – still evidence of circles.
Mid May: Due to lack of my own photographs of the circles during the event, I discussed possible alternative responses with Cameron Bishop on May 20th. Possible ancillary photographic projects are:
- The song circles aligned to northern industry – Use e.g. Google Earth to find coordinates of e.g. Alcoa, Point Henry or Shell, Corio) – photograph from each song circle facing this point. This will give some sense of randomness to the composition of each image. Possible extension is to photograph each site at the same time of day as the circle was active. (this became Response 1 – above)
- The impression left by the walkers on the walk route – (This comes from the fact that the walkers left little or no evidence – other than footprints. There was no littering evident along the route. NB Check with Zoe whether CoGG cleaned the route after the event.) Photographs taken along the walk route showing the paths taken and the post-event impact of hundreds of walkers passing through. The ethics of leaving a clean space.
One of the above projects presented as a series of large digital prints (A3 or bigger).
The song circles aligned to Northern Industry
Then photographs were taken from the walking circle sites facing towards the refinery.
- The only sites with direct views of the refinery are Big Rock, Limeburner’s Lagoon (limited view through buildings of Geelong Grammar School and trees) and Steampacket Gardens.
- The headings provided unusual aspects, and from most sites the view from the centre of the circle was mundane or aesthetically uninteresting. To counter this, in some cases, a small lateral movement at the site provided a different view. The most extreme was at Point Lonsdale, where the original planned site was on a lower level path below the sea wall. e.g.
There three photos are taken at Point Lonsdale all on the Shell Refinery heading (320 degrees).
- Sun position. As these photos were taken in May, June and July, the position of the sun was low in the northern sky. For all circles but the first three, this meant that the views on a heading to Shell from all but the first three circles were backlit with a loss of contrast and, if the sun was shining, sun glare. The question was whether to try for the same time of day as the walk. This was done for all circles but the night circles. If time and conditions permit, this will be attempted at the night circles . Results may be problematical, due to a lack of light at the sites. Limeburner’s Lagoon is the worst site for this, with no artificial lighting.
- The distance between circles. This has meant that a large amount of time is needed. While my preferred mode of transport is bicycle, even with a car, it takes a day to get around all the sites for photography.
Readings and artists suggested by Cameron
- Bruce Champman, Songlines– a way of moving through spaces. The trajectories through the landscape – ethical, symbolic .
- Symron Gill, Siri Hayes (photographers)
- Boyd Family – 1970s project – casting world spaces
- Barbara Bolt The light for the matter(article) – light from both scientific and post-colonial perspectives
- Rosalind Drummond – documentation of spaces.