“Women carried notebooks and pressed storms in them like flowers… our lives were lived in the service of these clouds…
“To live in that high land is to lose familiarity with the shapes of things. You cannot trust your eyes. In a single day I have witnessed the tremulous birth of the world. I have seen canyons boil. I have watched rain fall upwards… Before my eyes, beneath sliding veils of vapour, trees have formed soft oceans in the depths of valleys dappled by cold blue shadows… When the mists come the edges of cliffs blur, rocks melt, chasms close over and streets drop into precipices.
“Your feet are shod in lichen. Your hair breathes vapour at the roots. You are walking on clouds.” (Delia Falconer, In the Service of Clouds, 2005)
Standing on a boulder facing out onto the Kiewa Valley, the possibility that I might be able to walk on clouds doesn’t seem unfeasible. The Bogong Centre for Sound Culture residency has provided a wonderful opportunity to explore and adventure outside familiar territory, where the rarefied air of the snow country amplifies time and space. The morning mist that nestles in mountain troughs slowly lifts as sun fails to fully appear. The landscape is heavy with the effects of rain. The fire red of autumn leaves that emblazoned the elm trees on our arrival have nearly all been shaken from their limbs by persistent storms. The leaves form a richly coloured ground cover that carpets the moist earth and squelches underfoot. With incessant rain and inclement weather, indoors has been the place of choice allowing time for reading, writing and consolidating thoughts.
I am indebted to Madelynne Cornish for her generosity of spirit in mentoring, tutoring and providing invaluable feedback on my sound and art practice and specifically on the work that has been produced during the residency. Thank you also to Phillip Samartzis for the opportunity to participate in this unique experience. As the two-week residency comes to a close, thoughts turn to home.