Matthew Berka

Entry #1

20.02.2016

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When I arrived at Bogong village I was pretty gone, really, my mind was oscillating back and forth between things that were probably not relevant to what was at hand.

There’s the recurring vision of a figure wandering around the forest firing off a hunting rifle, we’re somewhere around Bacchus Marsh or Mt. Disappointment? The figure fires off shots out of sight but I hear the bullets as they ricochet off the trees. Is he hunting for animals or just trigger happy? I follow behind with my camera, firing off bursts of frames.

There’s the ironic article I read about the AFL's lack of reportage on spectator violence, bashings and deviant sexual acts. A collection of meme-photographs of mostly wounded spectators each beginning with the caption 'This is not a photo of a…'. I recall time spent at the MCG - those countless weekend nights and afternoons spent tagged along. I imagine the stadium superimposed onto this valley, the roar of thousands of spectators, their spitting and sweaty rage. The half-remembered vibrations that the stadium produced when it was at maximum capacity, the slap back reverberations of the audience’s roars on the boundaries. Note: sneak a camera into the MCG and film the crowds like these trees, with gliding movements and bursts of 8mm film.

Since arriving here I’ve taken a few different outings; a half-hearted walk up the spring saddle track, a few fragments of 8mm film (the naked white gums healing from the bush fires with a sporadic heaving of my camera vertically/diagonally) and a few brief walks around Lake Guy and Bogong village. The light is bright, even and hot during the day.

I took walks around the village, down at the lake and through the dam alone. I took a continuous time-lapse on an iphone as I walked. There were passages of broken light streaming through the foliage as I wandered down towards the lake.

There were patches of light and then some shimmering/sparkling light hitting the lake. Then I saw a narrow, small stream of water where I found an old rusted dinner plate submerged in the water, it's maybe 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 years old, not sure. Vestiges of light peak through the foliage and hover over the top of the plate as if it were water itself. I finish my timelapse by holding the camera as steady as I can over the stream with the plate in it.

I took the old plate with me but ended up accidentally dropping it in the lake. It started to float away so I filmed it with both digital and analog cameras. It slowly became half-submerged in the lake. The footage didn’t work when I looked at it later on that night.

The sky had blackened and the trees surrounding the lake had dissolved into clusters of blackish, brownish and dark green hues. The moon was shimmering and swirling in its water reflection. I had forgotten about the plate and when I looked around it had disappeared into the dark lake.

Almost disorientated as I walked back, I wished for a ‘simpler’, focused, more detached approach to Bogong. Preoccupied, it seems I can only sustain fragments of audio-vision recording. Most of my material is completely discardable but still I enter into this somewhat futile/chaotic situation with a hope that as the material builds it will yield something when brought into collision other images/sounds.

I’m at work with no clear concept. I tend more towards an approach/sensibility that orients me through the environment as I push towards the fictive through the everyday. My own life is interesting enough to record aspects of it said Peter Hutton. What is drama but life with all the dull bits cut out said Hitchcock. I suppose I'm in for a bit of both... However there’s hope that I can entirely dismiss this situation, to have been patient enough to have an encounter with the phantasmagoric when I see it.


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