Into Other Worlds
For the last two years, I’ve been living on the edges of society, creating...
For over two years, my camp in the Flinders Ranges, has been a safe creative space for me. It’s allowed me to work at a ferverish pace, read philosophy all day and night or settle in with the fire and make drawings for new scenes yet to be born. In the protected silence of the gorges clarity presents itself without effort or request. Driving out from the winding, rocky creek beds, my phone lights up. Ok now i’m in range. The outside world waves and raises his brow, in an attempt at reciprocal attention. Well i’m here now I best see what he wants.
Watching society from the sidelines is hard at times. I really feel for everyone being tossed around and demanded of while the baseline oxygen for an artist (creativity and expression), lays dormant.
I’n the past two years i’ve hosted artists in one on one unofficial residencies. Sometimes to collaborate, sometimes just to share ideas and the washing up. Recently I’ve discovered joy through being courageous within new things and in this vain of practice, stepping out into the deep end has proved a way of pushing myself into new experiences. With that in mind I put the invitation out to eleven SA artists to camp over four days at the hut.
The main challenge was transforming the space from single purpose use to accommodate such a large group. I only have an outside shower so that was going to be the first issue and a shower needs water. Luckily my best mate Greg was on hand installing a temporary inside shower and bringing up a thousand litres of town water. The next things was shelter and wind breaks. With the help of my community over three months, we built these structures from found materials. Some from along the railway, others scavenged closer to townships.
Thanks to the Regional Art Fund I was able to get some money to put on the whole show and begin to design a set and setting that would respect the artists time and effort. The drive from Adelaide to the studio is quite a commitment to make. The troopy made for a good pack horse and Denis Smith helped shuttle the artists into the creek bed driveway. By the time everyone arrived it was well after dark. I had to smile when I drove in bringing up the tail of the convey.
The space had really sprung to life and with the help of Jeff (woodsman and helped with a lot of the building) and Toni from Quorn who came up to do the gourmet bush food.
There were multiple moments over the four days that surprised me and brought warmth to the soul and I don’t think i’ve ever eaten as well as I did.
The moment I realised this was going well was as people shared one onone about what the place had given them. Everyone seems to have taken something away, and yet no one story was alike. As a self check, this feedback of the process of existence, was invaluable. This existence i’d intentful walked headlong into wasn’t an escape or a retreat. It was a quality of input, a violent curation of the external to the extent that not much enters this space without considered invitation.