Journal Entry #4
The time has come to roll up the Bogong Chronicle and archive it in the local library. The library has two rooms with colour-coded doors. A yellow one for recyclable knowledge and red for texts whose meanings are already exhausted. The head librarian Madelynne is very strict, she won’t tolerate any misclassifications. So, I carefully deposit the Chronicle into the yellow one, anticipating its reworking into a more edited digest, but you can still check out the last ordinary issue no 20 here. Recorded around the breakfast time on the day of departure it captures a different intensity of the light and soundscape, also carrying marks of extra frivolity on behalf of the editor.
I’ve always been curious about the complex and contradictory relationship between the human concepts of beauty and nature. Nature often serves as our reference point for beauty, inspiring artists to copy it. Nevertheless, at some point, we find it no longer sufficient, and start to landscape or otherwise ‘beautify’ the nature itself. We cannot even fully decide whether we are part of that nature ourselves. We pride ourselves in our cultures - the very definition of something ‘human made’ at the same time as we try to define and grasp the dangers of ‘anthropocene’ that leaves very little on the planet unaffected by human activity. That is one of the trains of thought that my work on The Bogong Chronicle has been fuelling, but far from the only one - at the end any chronicle, any history writing, is multilayered and open to interpretation.
Luke came by another day to mow the lawn. Yet another mundane intervention to make our nature prettier and more liveable. As per my request, he carefully avoided the Chronicle, leaving a bit of grassy margin around and artistic integrity of the work intact. It would seem, art saved a bit of the nature that day. Ok, ok, I will stop juggling those words before I dig myself into too deep a hole. Anyway, Luke kindly stayed for a portrait. I like the human stillness in the midst of the vibrant nature here and I would like to push these explorations further in the future. But in the meanwhile, I made a portrait of another kind of visitor that dropped in for afternoon tea.
In the rear-view mirror, my four weeks in Bogong appear unexpectedly intense and productive. To my surprise, I ended up exploring my surroundings as well as my own thoughts and making through a video lens mainly. Yet, to say that I was just doing video art does not feel right. I was engaging quite a lot with conceptual art, painting, sculpture, photography, sound and performance as well. Video was primarily a means to establish a certain artistic distance to my subject matter – as well as artistic discourses invoked – just as the geographical distance between Melbourne and Bogong created perspective enabling me to see some overlooked habits of my own practice. Distance, remoteness – they are important. You may need to take a step back to take something in. But then you may need to step back into it again to actually feel it…
Art, it’s a strange dance…
And then you film it.