The Bogong Centre for Sound Culture is a remote-regional cultural initiative situated in the foothills of Victoria’s Alpine National Park. Established by Philip Samartzis and Madelynne Cornish the B-CSC supports projects focusing on the processes and impacts of sustainable energy production; effects of climate change in wilderness areas; ethnographic studies of remote communities; the chronicling of vanishing industrial procedures; and systems of representation used to render natural and built environments.
Additionally, the B-CSC facilitates a broad cultural program comprising, festivals, exhibitions, publications, master classes and artists’ talks focusing on site-specific art practices. These programs establish a connection with place, its inhabitants, geographic space and memory. They engage a wide range of audiences, bringing together local, interstate and international artists across multiple disciplines and fields to realise ambitious works.
The B-CSC is situated at the newly restored old school at Bogong Alpine Village located 350 kilometres from Melbourne in North East Victoria.
Acknowledgment of Country
The B-CSC acknowledge the Dhudhuroa, Gunai, Taungurung, Waywurru and Yaitmathang peoples as the First Nations and Traditional Owners of the land upon which the Bogong Centre for Sound Culture is located. We pay our respects to the Elders, past, present and future for they hold the knowledge and traditions of the land and waterways upon which we depend.
About Bogong Village
Bogong Alpine Village is 325 kilometres North-East of Melbourne situated at an altitude of 800 meters in the Alpine National Park between Mount Beauty and Falls Creek. The village was established in the late 1930s to service the first hydroelectric scheme in mainland Australia. More recently it has become a popular site for alpine sports, recreation and ecotourism. Click here for directions.
A Short History
Work on the Kiewa Scheme commenced in 1938 with the construction of a road from Tawonga to the High Plains. Previously the only access was by foot or horseback along tracks that had been forged by cattlemen of a bygone era. Bogong Village was established once the road from Junction Camp was trafficable (March 1939); this paved the way for the construction of permanent buildings. Prior to that life was tough; large canvas tents and flies were used for sleeping quarters and smaller tents were set up to house the kitchens. By 1940 Bogong Township had grown considerably with a general store, staff offices, recreational mess, police station, and a variety of accommodation such as single men’s quarters and residences for married staff and families.
Bogong State School
In 1941 the Primary School at Bogong Village enrolled its first intake of students comprising nine pupils. Initially the school consisted of a large classroom, storeroom and boys and girls toilets. Extensions were carried out in 1944, which expanded the capabilities of the school. A library, storeroom, pupil’s lunchroom and shelter shed were added and rock gardens were established. By 1947 the number of students had grown to 46 all of whom were children of local SEC workers. Over the years class sizes fluctuated and the building remained unchanged. In 1980 it ceased to operate as a school and sat idle, eventually falling into disrepair. In 2004 it was sold along with many other buildings in the village.
Madelynne Cornish and Philip Samartzis bought the Old School and set about restoring it to its former glory. The rotting weatherboards and floorboards, smashed windows and flaking paint are now a distant memory. The newly refurbished building occupies it’s original footprint and bares a strong resemblance to it’s former self. Although the internals have been modernized remnants of it’s past history remain. The Old School once played a significant role in the fabric of village life. It inspired the community and helped shape the minds of those who studied there. It is our intention as custodians that the School once again functions as a place of inspiration.
Reference: Kiewa Kids School Days at Bogong & Mount Beauty by Graham Gardner
I applied for the BCSC residency because as an environmental artist the landscape is like my canvass, my material or my rehearsal stage.
In direct relation to environmental surroundings, I operate directly within an ecological system as opposed to the neutrality of a ‘blank canvas’ studio. For me, the world is a shared habitat.
Being here allows me to be in a physical relationship with the mountains, immersing myself for two weeks in this particular environment to develop a visual, physical, sensory connection. Through moving, we can reintegrate parts of our self and become a part of our environment.
I believe that the relationship with nature can induce feelings of peace and contentment, of security and coexistence within. I see humans not detached from landscapes but amidst.
I am looking outside of the window of my little cabin in Bogong village, listing to the sound of the wind and the river and the songs of the birds, writing this blog. It is peaceful.
Over the last five days, I have done several tracks and focused on my body moving in this particular environment.
Our bodies potentially provide the reference points for the perception of our surroundings. Our bodies are constantly changing and transitioning like the rest of the natural world. Our bodies are in constant response to the environment.
Living in a city or even just sheltered from our surroundings, I believe we tend to forget about this important connection.
We are almost overwhelmed with data showing a world under threat. As an artist I deal with events and situation that concern me in a performative way. Devastation of nature, abusing of natural resources and estrangement form the environment are problems that humans are facing in various degrees in all parts of the world. The very performativity of contemporary culture has done ecological damage to land and community.
It is time to re-embrace our love for and fear of the natural environment and in so doing maybe we can find deeper and more engaged ways to love and to protect the world around us?