Last year, my elderly next door neighbor, Olga, was telling me about the place she where she grew up in Hungary. It was a wine growing region that produced wonderful sweet wines and was famous for its beautiful popular trees. Olga remembers the sounds of the poplar leaves rustling in the breeze and singing the local folk songs about the autumnal golden poplar trees. In Greek mythology the poplar tree is the Tree of Life, because of its distinctly bicolored leaves; dark green on the side that faces Heaven, pale green on the side that faces Earth, representing the male/female duality from which all was born. This artwork, titled Olga's Music Box, is about nostalgia and they way that sounds can trigger half forgotten memories on the other side of the world.
About 2 meters above the ground, strung between two poplar trees are five parallel lines of black hessian webbing, representing a music stanza.
The music notes are represented by large black poplar leaf shapes. On one side of each is a piece of broken mirror.
The leaf-music-notes are attached to the parallel lines with a swivel allowing the leaf-music-notes to spin freely in the breeze and the mirrored side catches and reflects the sunlight, creating dancing patterns of light on the shadowy ground.
Set amongst the poplar trees at Stonehurst Cedar Creek Vineyard, Olga's Music Box entices viewers deep into the forest of trees, as they catch glimpses of the leaf-music-notes glinting in the distance, a stanza of spinning silent music.
This installation is a development of the heartbeat work that I installed at Stonehurst Cedar Creek last year.
Flat-lining is a site-specific work for the length of the barbed wire fence leading up to the cellar door at Undercliff Vineyard, Wollombi, The Hunter Valley. Red knitting yarn is bound around lengths of barbed wire for the entire length of the fence, occasionally zig-zagging like a heartbeat. The brightly coloured, soft, fuzzy-edged materiality of the yarn contrasts the harsh aggressive material of the barbed wire.
Flat-lining explores the concept of boundaries. The use of the barbed-wire fence conveys multiple associations of defense, aggression, possession, containment and protection. The colour, softness and tactility of the continuous red line of bound yarn, combined with the title, Flat-lining, indicates an indeterminate moment on the boundary between life and death.
The term Flat-lining is mostly used in the medical industry when a person's pulse has stopped, indicating a flat line on the heart monitor. Even at this point - the boundary can be breached in either direction - there is still the possibility of resuscitation.
multimedia installation MVA Post-Grad exhibition at SCA
dvd projection, mirrors, bamboo, vines, aluminum wire mesh, nylon, feathers, acrylic and charcoal on walls
"Memories lie slumbering within us for months and years, quietly proliferating, until they are woken by some trifle and in some strange way bind us to life… what would we be without memory? We would not be capable of ordering even the simplest thoughts, the most sensitive heart would lose the ability to show affection, our existence would be a mere never-ending chain of meaningless moments, and there would not be the faintest trace of a past."
Winfried Georg Sebald and Michael Hulse, The Rings of Saturn (New York: New Directions, 1998), 255.