Two weeks ago I arrived at Falls Creek on a day that was so thick with fog that I could only see about 20 meters into the distance. Everything beyond was a mystery, just the way I like it. Even walking to Foodworks 100 meters up the road seemed like a great adventure. How could there be a supermarket up there when all I can see is thick grey fog.
On that first day, Elise Armitage drove me around to show me Falls Creek. Snow at the top of the summit, the “plug hole” in the local dam. I got to be chauffeured through the fog to places she knew and I was able to take many beautiful photographs
But tomorrow I leave Falls Creek.
I am completely surprised by how much I love it here. I have been travelling a lot over the last few years, to all sorts of places and environments as part of my arts practice and I have enjoyed them all but there’s something really special about Falls Creek. I imagine it’s completely different in winter with thousands of people all here for skiing, but summer is such a...
The clock strikes midnight as I walk back in my door at Falls Creek.
It’s been a long day, I’m feeling so tired that I can’t even process all the material from the day, my eyelids are battling to shut up shop for the night.
The day started in the Falls Creek Primary School, a small school with over 20 students. In Ski Season the enrolments double as people move here for a term to ski and send their kids to school in the snow. I worked with a grade 5 student Isabelle and the Principal and Teacher Helen.
Isabelle did an amazing job reading a sophisticated voice over about the Bogong Moth.
When we were recording Isabelle reminded me to check the volume that I have the recorder set at because if it is set to low then it wont sound as good. Glad to see a ten year old is double checking that I am checking the gain structure of my recordings.
After the recording was done, we made some plans to do some more in depth work on a future visit and I’m looking forward to it.
We are up very high in Falls Creek and therefore the air is thin.
Professional athletes and Olympians all come here to undergo high altitude training and there are facilities to support their training. When I first arrived I was finding myself out of breath during the shortest of walks, which was a bit embarrassing when I was walking with new acquaintances and was completely out of breath in a minute or two.
I have adapted though, undertaking my own high altitude training by carrying large projectors and generators and other equipment to multiple sites each night.
Yesterday I had to be “off the mountain” a phrase I have heard used by locals. I like that phrase a lot. “I’ll be off the mountain tomorrow”. Not necessarily saying where they will be, but just off the mountain.
I had to be off the mountain for the day as I had agreed to talk on a panel in Bathurst (yes a 7 hour drive).
I have given lots of school workshops before, but never to pre school students. Today I spend the morning at Falls Creek Pre School, it was a lot of fun and a much different type of energy to harness in order to try to achieve something.
Whenever the kids lost focus, they were allowed to draw on post it notes and stick them to my laptop, a laptop post it note exhibition.
We worked together talking about the animals that are near extinction in the area such as the Mountain Pygmy Possum, the only marsupial that is restricted to Alpine Environments, as well as the Powerful Owl and the Spotted Tree Frog. They drew pictures of each of these animals:
Mountain Pygmy Possum
Spotted Tree Frog
I then spent the rest of the day sorting through all the material I have made since I arrived.
A couple of hours before night fall, I made my way up the top of Mt McKay, stopping occasionally to take a photograph.
I have been told that there are Bogong Moth Caves on Mt Mackay, and for days I ha...
It is the weekend so Sarah and Holly came to visit for a couple of days. I decide not to do much work during that time but soon realised that them being here is a very important part of my understanding of this place, so is also an important part of my work. When they arrived I found myself trying to convey my first week here. Taking them to my "favourite places” was great because it made me realise that I have already developed favourite places in such a short time.
The sharing with loved ones led me to realisations about how I feel being in Falls Creek. Thoughts that must have been murmuring away in my sub conscious all along, finally had reason to become articulated. Sharing the immense joy that I felt being up high on a mountain top on my own in thick clouds, the environment so different to the other extreme environment in which we live.
I asked Holly if she wanted to get up at 5am in the morning and drive up to the top of Mt Mckay and see if it is covered in low clouds. Sh...
Over the past 6 months I have been reflecting that we always seem so eager to have words to explain our experiences, to define things with language. I was involved in a project last year that become so profound in various ways that I just couldn’t talk about it for some time. Not because I found it too difficult to talk about, but because I felt to try to define it in words was to reduce its meaning. Some things are bigger than the limits of language.
So, I have been remembering to feel comfortable with not always having words to explain things, or at least to not feel eager to have to explain things with words before they are ready. Today feels a little like that but mostly because it was such an exhilarating day that I find it hard to explain. I eagerly worked over night last night into the early hours of dawn, so I thought I might sleep for most of the day but for some reason, after a couple of hours sleep I was up again.
I think I am noticing a pattern that when I am away from m...
Once when I was in America, I came across a sign that declared the area I was in to be a “Free Speech Exclusion Zone”.
I didn’t know what it meant, how could it be?
Today I read on the map, just near here, there is a Magnetic Anomaly Zone.
I didn’t know what it means, how could it be?
You can’t drive to the Magnetic Anomaly Zone, it is quite a hike. So it’s not that easy to drop in there to experiment. I wonder, If I took my Electro Magnetic Frequency (EMF) Microphones, would it detect anything? I don’t think so, but there is a chance, maybe.
I didn’t feel like a long hike today, but I thought about it a lot and in my mind it was fabulous, the electromagnetic frequencies being transmitted from there were creating beautiful tones through my EMF microphones. And in my imagined artwork, the magnetic frequencies from the Anomaly Zone, played their own composition, a composition that no-one could explain. A composition that exists only in my mind, a great thing to make occasionall...
As I delve deeper into the Environmental Humanities, reading work by Val Plumwood, Deborah Bird Rose, Kate Rigby, Tom van Dooren and others, I find it helpful in exploring my ideas about going beyond what might have been considered “Site Specific” art making to instead understand how I can focus part of my arts practice on how to collaborate with a living landscape of which we are a part.
Traditionally the word Nature has excluded humans, it has been seen as something separate from us, something untouched and “over there”.
Australian environmental philosopher Val Plumwood has called the nature/culture dualism “the foundational delusion of the West” and has argued that it is a “dangerous doctrine, strongly implicated in the environmental crisis.” 
If we consider that there is no divide between humans and nature, that humans are actually a part of nature, it offers possibilities for me in my arts practice to consider the collaboration with nature as possible. Collaborat...
A perfect day to explore, looking for interesting places, trying to understand what I am surrounded by.
After a day exploring, and as the night fell, I headed to Ruined Castle, a unique columnar jointed basalt rock formation. I wanted to project some images from the CSIRO collection of Bogong Moth's. Bogong Moths are a special feature of this area, the moth starts its life in Queensland where it is considered an agricultural pest due to the wide spread crop damage it causes. In the moths short 12 month lifecycle, it then flies to the NSW and Victorian Alps, where it estivates inside caves for 3-4 months in large numbers of hundreds of thousands. The moths then fly back to Queensland, lay their eggs and die.
The Bogong Moth is high in protein and traditionally was a food source to Aboriginal people. Their status as agricutural pests in the northern area...
Today I started a 2 week artist residency at Falls Creek in the Victorian Alps high country where unbelievably in the middle of summer it snowed. This meant that I got to see snow for the second time in my life and all day I got to enjoy a mountain that was veiled in fog, which made me quite happy as I have spent a lot of time in the past hunting for fog.
In 2015, I worked with George Main at The National Museum of Australia and developed the work Haunting which, amongst other things, created a series of artworks that were captured by projecting relevant images into fog, watch Haunting video here. That project was a 3 month journey of waiting through cold winter nights to capture the right conditions, but today as I arrive in Falls Creek amidst middle of the day thick fog, I start to think that I might be able to project into the fog here, potentially even from the comfort of my accommodation.
To begin with I set up my camera to film the slo...