The Walking Circles – before and after images

Creative Response:  Part 4 – Impressions left on walking circle sites

Meme McDonald, Artistic Director of Mountain to Mouth, suggested looking at the walking circle sites after the event to see what impression (if any) was left of the walkers or the art installations.

This slide show is the result of visits to eleven of the sites over a month or so.

The twelfth site, (Site 11 – Point Lonsdale) was not included in the slide show for two reasons.  First, the site planned for the walking circle (on a lower walking path) was not used.  The circle was placed on a low table near the playground/picnic area.  Secondly, the walking circle was portable – a sandstone sculpture.  The walkers did not walk the circle, but traced the sandstone labyrinth with their fingers.

The first post-event photographs were taken on the two days after Mountain to Mouth.

At Moorpanyul Park the Barwon River Rowing Precinct sites there was no trace left of the circles or of the walkers foot marks.

At Lara RSL, the circle was still defined by twigs.

At Limeburner’s Lagoon, Steampacket Place and Drysdale Station, there was a trace of the preparative paint,  but no sign of footmarks from those walking the site.

At Big Rock, the walking circle in ochre and sand was still fully visible, and the surrounding wall of dead wood.  The sand in the labyrinth centre was still visible.  This was despite heavy rain on the second day of M~M.  There was no sign of footmarks.

At Swan Bay and Barwon Heads, the circles were marked by sand.  This was still clear, with footmarks in the sand, in the two days after the event.

At Ocean Grove, the walking circle was on the beach – and was made by sand walls and sculptures.  The day after the event part was washed away and the rest showed signs of people’s feet.

The circle at Christie’s Road, Leopold, is a permanent fixture, made as a path through a small grove of native plants and trees.  The day after the event, there was no sign of the event evident.

For those sites where there was still evidence of the walking circles in the two days after the event, follow-up photographs were taken in the following few weeks.

By June 6th, the only sites with any evidence of walking circles were Big Rock, where the circle was still clearly evident (though the surrounding stick wall had been dismantled), Swan Bay where the sand circle was still evident, though less obvious through overgrown grass, and Barwon Heads, where the circle was still evident, but the sand was spreading and merging into the grass.

The tide had completely removed all evidence of the walking circle at Ocean Grove.

Where there was still evidence of the circles and their labyrinths, people were still walking them.  When questioned, none of those I spoke to knew why the circles were there.

I intend to take follow-up photographs at Big Rock, Swan Bay and Barwon Heads over the next few weeks and months until there is no trace of any walking circle.

While the traces left of the event on the land may be few, the traces left by the land on those who were part of Mountain to Mouth will, for many, be life long memories.

The header image: part of the art installation at Ocean Grove walking circle.


Labyrinth – Simple labyrinth for photo overlay

I have been trying out several different labyrinths for a photo overlay on a large work.  This will have many tiny photos overlaid on a painted background.

Labyrinths are ancient.  Written evidence goes back at least to Greek mythology – with the legend of the Minotaur, half man, half bull, confined in a labyrinth, until he was eventually killed by Theseus.  The ancient Greeks knew of at least four labyrinths in their antiquity – in Crete, Egypt, Lemnos and what is now modern Italy.  Labyrinths are part of many cultures – from the Americas to the Indian sub-continent and central Europe.

Labyrinths differ from mazes in that there is only one pathway to the centre, not branching pathways and dead ends as in a maze.  (John Algeo considers the maze a subset of a labyrinth with the single path variety termed a meander.)

Labyrinths have several uses or purposes.  In ancient times, they were considered traps for evil spirits (or a cage for the Minotaur).  They may be decorative, like in the patterns of native American baskets and in gardens of the eighteenth and nineteenth century.  They may have a deeply spiritual meaning.  Labyrinthine floors in cathedrals of the Middle Ages could be walked as a substitute for a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

The Cretan labyrinth which housed the Minotaur had seven sacred circles.  According to John Algeo these represented ‘the seven spheres of the sacred planets, the seven principles of the human being and the cosmos, the seven days of the week, and other such sevenfold meanings.  Passing to the center of the labyrinth and returning to its circumference represents the involution and evolution of the universe, the coming into birth and the passing out of earthly life of an individual, and–most important–a journey into the center of our own being, the achievement there of a quest for wholeness, and the subsequent return to our divine source.’

John Algeo also gives other deep meanings to walking a labyrinth.

According to Meme McDonald, Artistic Directory of Mountain to Mouth, a labyrinth may be metaphor for the life’s journey – a seeking  for the core – a yearning for spiritual meaning.  As one walks a labyrinth one is sometimes near the centre, sometimes further away, in a similar way to the quests the human being faces on life’s path.  In this, the Labyrinth becomes also a symbol of death – when life’s journey is complete and the quest is over.

The labyrinths on the Mountain to Mouth walk were rest stops for the walkers, and a chance for them to experience ‘extreme art’.  The circular labyrinth was a common symbol on which all the participating artists constructed diverse art installations.

This labyrinth (based on the seed pattern Labyrinth) is an ancient pattern – the path I have made (in Illustrator) is that of the walker walking into and out of the labyrinth.

My labyrinth (for a photo overlay) will be followed by the viewer’s eyes.  Thus, the simpler labyrinths at the top will be easier to follow that even the simplest seed labyrinth.

Algeo, John. “The Labyrinth: A Brief Introduction to its History, Meaning and Use.” Quest  89.1 (JANUARY – FEBRUARY  2001):24-25.

McDonald, Meme, Interview with Helen Lyth, 28th May, 2014.

Header image – Mountain to Mouth:  Limeburner’s Lagoon labyrinth – Photo Helen Lyth 11/5/14 (the day after M~M).

The Night Walk

Creative Project part 2 – photos of the night walk route

It was dark when the walkers reached Limeburner’s Lagoon.  From there they walked through an area of Geelong many locals never visit – the industrial northern docks area.  At night there is a desolate majesty about this.  The walkers were silent, or chatting quietly as they walked beside the still waters of Corio Bay.  A few evening fishermen watched the strange procession.  The ships in the docks were oblivious as cargoes were loaded or discharged.

From the bay shore the noise is a steady quiet hum.  Odours change from petrochemicals to the north, to wood as the walkers pass the timber and wood chip exporting facilities surrounding Corio Quay, and roasting grain near the Grain Pier.

From St Helens the walkers entered a residential area, with views of the city skyline and Corio Bay.  Finally, after 10pm, the walkers reached the festivities at Steampacket Gardens.  For one night in a handful of nights during the year, the late night waterfront was alive with activity.

By 11 pm on May 9th, as the last walkers straggled in to Steampacket Gardens, the area was almost deserted.  Rain began to fall.

Overnight the rain intensified, greeting the walkers as they once again gathered at Steampacket Gardens at 5:30am on May 9th.  The next stage, in early morning darkness was along Moorabool Street to the Barwon River rowing area.  The whole area was deserted except for a few early morning revelers returning home.

Walking Circles – view towards Shell Chimney

Creative Project 1:  A view towards Shell

Background:  The Shell Refinery has been a magnet for my photography over the years – with changing light and the concern over the environment versus aesthetics.  As the light changes, so the views may go from mundane to magical.

These photos are in response to my personal interest in the refinery, and especially the many chimneys and vertical structures.  The photos are taken on a heading from the twelve walking circles towards the large red and white Shell chimney.

All of these were taken on a heading towards Shell (worked out using Google Earth maps).

The Images

The images were taken in the weeks after Mountain to Mouth.  Processing included merging multiple images using HDR (High Dynamic Range) software for some images shot in difficult light conditions.  Images were post processed in Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop.  Images were saved as print files and separate web files.

All but three sites (Big Rock, Lara RSL and Limeburner’s Lagoon) had headings towards the north.  This made photography difficult as the sun was far in the northern sky moving towards the winter solstice.   This meant that most subjects were backlit and in shadow, with loss of sharpness and colour.

The Next Stage

Twelve images (one for each site) will be selected for printing to A3 size (or larger).



The Night Industry Walk

140610 Pot Still Shell HDR healing flat Acr edit140610 Pot Still Shell HDR healing flat Acr edit web orange hue

The cracker, Shell Refinery, Corio.

The walkers passed this at night, with gentle moonlight.  This photograph was taken about half an hour after sunset, while there was still light in the sky.

Phosphate 1 HDRAcr editAcr edit colourway 2 web Phosphate 1 HDRwebThe Phosphate factory, near Lascelles Wharf.  The bottom photo has the original colours.

Serendipity: Look what’s happening at the walking circles!

Today I took some photos at the walking circles.  At Drysdale and Ocean Grove, there was lots of action…

Walking circles on a heading the Shell Chimney

The highest man-made building in Geelong is the red and white Shell chimney at the Corio Refinery.

Shell Refinery, Corio - Geelong's tallest building - the chimney

Shell Refinery, Corio – Geelong’s tallest building – the chimney

One facet of my creative response to M~M is to take photographs from each of the twelve walking circle sites, looking towards the chimney.  The chimney is visible from Big Rock, Limeburner’s Lagoon and Steampacket Gardens.  From the other sites, a compass heading was used.

These will be used to take photographs for the Mountain to Mouth Creative Response.140513 140525 big rock m~m004webwebThe Big Rock Walking Circle.  Two weeks after the walk the ochre and chalk circle is still clearly visible.  The dead wood fence has been demolished.

Big Rock WSW 220 140513 140525 big rock m~m009webwebBig Rock is the only walking circle from which the Shell chimney is visible.

Lara RSL 206

Limeburners Lagoon – S W – 254 degrees from 0

Moorpanyul Park NNE 23 degrees from north

Steampacket NNE 20

Barwon River NNE 18

Christies Road NNE 325

Drysdale Station NW 310

Swan Bay NW 316

Point Lonsdale NW 320

Barwon Heads NNW 338