The ‘Purrumbete Verandah’ video has been curated into the Berlin Director’s Lounge. From the website:
PLACENESS Australian video artists respond to the notion of place and explore through the physical and mnemonic how locations impact on the ways in which art and land coexist within the image. – curated by Shaun Wilson
The Stony Rises Project exhibition opened on 22nd July and I finally finished off the video work ‘Purrumbete Verandah’, I made specifically for this travelling exhibition. The exhibition was reviewed in ‘The Age’ – Rock art, but not as we know it. Robert Nelson the reviewer referred to the video work ‘Purrumbete Verandah’.
Pondering the aesthetic history of the region, Seth Keen revisits the location of a painting by Eugene von Guerard. His video yields an unsettling tranquillity, where the peace can never be knitted with the glazed lights and hollows of the European tradition.
The supporting Stony Rises project website has been finalised as part of documenting the exhibition and broader research project, where you can read more about the video work ‘Purrumbete Verandah’ and the Locative Painting research project. Also, I there is an artists statement published in the accompanying book ‘Designing Place’ published in parallel with the opening exhibition.
Prof Harriet took this picture of me up on a stone wall (stony rise) getting a GPS photo of the LARRA HOMESTEAD, MT. ELEPHANT IN DISTANCE, 1857 Eugene Von Guerard location in the Corangamite Shire. The wind was whistling across the scoria plains cold as b and getting a steady shot was no easy job. Piecing together this location through oral history interviews was fascinating, invigorating and confronting all in one. A news article on the research project was published in a number of papers across the region. Special thanks to the local Josie Black for all her support and encouragement and I will be thinking of her in her battle with illness.
The Double Life contemporary art exhibition opened last night at the RMIT Project Space/Spare Room. With a life in the city and in the country these artist/researchers work with their rural environments. A few pictures from the opening. Curator Lisa Byrne.
An ash stencil on the floor ‘Bastards Neck’ part of Lesley Duxbury’s work.
Talking with the artist Joy Hirst afterwards at dinner Joy referred to the artist Richard Long who has a huge body of work that covers walking, mapping and the landscape.
I found this article ‘Linking geographical facts with cartographic artifacts” by Bill Cartwright really useful when I first started thinking about issues around to many talking heads in the Real Vision: Colombia prototype developed with World Vision and the final Bogota:Colombia online version. The age-old documentary problem of there being to many expert opinions (as talking heads) was one aspect that I thought could be developed in a new direction online.
This lead to developing the Locative Painting project to explore how online video could be fused with mapping technologies, to create supporting information alongside video content on the web. This approach ties in with the concept of tagging and using text in the form of titles, tags and categories to accompany video content. I realise across both of these approaches there is a core element of what I am looking at in this research , the ability to explore in a networked infrastructure, the combination of video with other media forms. This reminds me of Miles’ vogs and the way text sound graphics and video can be brought together in varying combinations within the video frame. The difference is I am for the moment exploring this within the frame of the browser.
In a NGO context pinpointing locations and where people live can be problematic due to privacy issues, but in another context like cultural history in the Locative Painting project, geographical positions can provide additional information that both supports and extends video content captured at a specific location.
Thinking this through, in an NGO context what is potentially valuable is statistical type information, the types of background that an expert can talk about in detail provided in a graphic form. This saves the user from the process of listening through the duration of a video and also gets around the issue of granularity with interviews. A process that some people are critical of with video comments in tools like seesmic.
Maps (or more likely information visualisation type mapping – data visualisation) in this instance would not point to individuals but be used to show things like water issues, crime problems, transportation issues, in a way that can be taken in very quickly with graphic visuals. Locative Painting for me is a project that enables me to explore this idea and google maps is a dynamic form of graphic visual that can be altered by the user with differing map views (roads, satellite etc) and variation in scale.
In Cartwright’s article which is situated in cartographic research, he refers to the potential of new media, “rich media” being utilised for what he calls “geographical storytelling”. In setting up this exploration, there is a really useful reference to the idea of what constitutes information and knowledge when thinking about the creation of online systems and content. (p. 332):
Today has been dubbed ‘‘The Age of Access’’, where connectivity drives towards the access of everyone to everyone, everything to everything, and everything to everyone. Knowledge has been promoted as one of the
benefits of new technology and mapping. Cartographic products and systems need to be knowledge based. Dr Samuel Johnson (London 1775 in Boswell 2004) said about knowledge and information that ‘‘Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information.’’
Contemporary cartographic products can provide information that enables expert users to enhance their knowledge of a particular subject. But, in the hands of an inexpert or novice user, such systems may only provide a ‘‘basket’’ of data and information, with no real way for understanding of what is contained within that basket or its relevance. T. S. Eliot has said that knowledge should not be confused with information – there is a need for New Media-enhanced cartographic products to provide the means of acquiring knowledge and not just voluminous amounts of information.
Similarly when online video and more broadly documentary is being used to document an aid program at a specific location there is considerations to be made in regards to how a user needs to be directed in terms of them comprehending the data that has been collected and archived. Cartwright in this article provides storytelling as a framework to address this type of issue. This leads me to another extract from this informative argument, which reviews the way that stories are captured and told in relation to providing a sense of place.
Stories can just provide statements of facts, where no embellishment is required and the user only wants to know ‘‘the facts.’’ These facts can be stand-alone, or supported by ‘‘on-line’’ experts who are able to give expert opinions on the geographical space being explored. It may be a narrative, where a documentary-type video, supported by a comprehensive, and interactive, narrative can ‘‘walk’’ a user through ‘‘unknown territory.’’ Users may construct their own story, or be ‘‘talked’’ through an area, where they construct a story using programme support materials and aural navigation aids. Finally, they may decide that they wish to experience a landscape by investigating a ‘‘literate landscape’’ by being told a story.
These approaches provide ‘food for thought’ for my next field trip and recording video content that relates to historic landscape paintings. The Bogota documentation tapped into some of these approaches with an emphasis on people compared to Locative Painting which has an focuses on location.
Cartwright, W. E., 2005, “Linking geographical facts with cartographic artifacts”, Cybercartography, Taylor, D. R. F. (ed.), Elsevier Science Ltd., pp. 331 – 338.
Boswell, J. (2004) The Life of Samuel Johnson LL.D., Adelaide, eBooks@Adelaide
Cartwright, W. E., B. Williams and C. Pettit (2003) ‘‘Realizing the ‘Literate Traveller’ ’’, Spatial Sciences Institute Conference Proceedings 2003, Spatial Sciences Institute, Canberra
Further to this I need to look at other narrative and place-based connections in the article USING/DESIGNING DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES OF
REPRESENTATION IN ABORIGINAL AUSTRALIAN KNOWLEDGE PRACTICES.
In my last GRC, my revised summary of my research took a nose-dive into the trash as what I seem to have been avoiding came back and bit me on the behind. Now, as I look at the 40-odd thousand words ahead and writing up the projects I have been cooking for the last few years it is time to dig deep into what my practice is all about. But, for some reason and I am not sure why? – this seems like hitting the couch for a quack session. So, I stand poised ready to tip tap with mixed feelings of sarcasm and excitement. With the enthusiasm weighing in on top off the procrastination. I think part of this shake down is accepting that for me the good sh** lies in the doing and always has rather than as a late entry to academia in the theorising from theory. Here we go then the next bit of the journey into practice-led research and the practice generating theory…and a photo from a recent field trip that says it all – only half the time being so close to it I am the last to see it (it being what I seem to want to do when it comes to making stuff)