Tuesday, October 29, 2019

'No holiday', Birrarung Marr, Melbourne, Australia

This is the second recorded walk I made during my recent visit to Australia, beginning in Melbourne with me exiting the Flinders Street Railway Station, crossing the road close to St. Paul's Cathedral and then across to Federation Square.

From Federation Square I walked along the Yarra Riverbank to Birrarung Marr where I discovered the large outdoor sculpture 'Angel' by Deborah Halpern standing alone in the midday sun. Not far away, up some steps I found the intriguing Federation Bells, which play music at intervals during the day.

Walking on the William Barak Bridge I made my way toward the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the largest stadium in the Southern Hemisphere.  In 2005 this bridge was enhanced by the addition of the permanent sound installation 'Proximities', created by Sonia Leber and David Chesworth, that features a welcome song sung in Woiwurrung by Wurundjeri Elder Joy Murphy Wandin, who is a descendent of William Barak. The installation also broadcasts the voices of people representing people of the 53 commonwealth countries now living in Australia.

The first thing I saw when I arrived at the cricket ground was the statue of Dennis Lillee - the legendary Australian fast bowler. I remember this amazing cricket player terrorising batsmen during Ashes matches when I was a youngster at school in the UK. There are further statues of Australian cricketing legends around the exterior of the ground.

The film concludes as I continue on my way crossing Yarra Park.



Wednesday, October 23, 2019

'One Step Forward, Two Steps Back' - 28.9.2019

During my research into the cityscape of Sydney prior to my recent visit looking for suitable locations for walking, filming or other activities, I discovered a very interesting set of steps close to Sydney Harbour Bridge. Later, when I arrived at the foot of the steps, I immediately felt that I had made an excellent choice.

The steps were built during 1912-14 and formed part of the redevelopment of the area which included construction of the wharves at Walsh Bay, a layout of new roads, and the steps themselves (named after civil engineer Robert Hickson, the first president of the Sydney Harbour Trust).

The steps (which formed part of the route from Hickson Road to the Harbour Bridge walkway deck) had so much character I was drawn to responding to them in some way and the natural way for me seemed to be in enacting a new version of my performance 'One Step Forward, Two Steps Back'.

The individual details of this performance are always governed by the specifics of each particular location and in this instance I stayed close to the right hand side (when facing uphill). This allowed me to employ the beautiful and powerful wall as a backdrop and also enabled the use of the handrail. The central rail and cast iron fence that ran down the opposite side of the steps contrasted nicely with the sandstone steps.



Sunday, October 20, 2019

'No holiday', Farm Cove, Sydney, Australia

Last month I had the great fortune to be able to visit Australia and what was even more fortunate was that during my visit I had enough time to contemplate creating three new performative works. One of them was a 'step' piece, which I shall post about soon, while the other two became episodes of the 'No holiday' saga.

The first walk, in Sydney, was particularly enjoyable for me. Since being a child I had been familiar with the landmarks in this beautiful city for example, the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and the stunning harbour itself and wondered if I would ever actually see them. To finally gaze upon these sights with my own eyes, feel the wind on my face and take in the full scope of the landscape as I moved through the city was indeed a realisation of these, once fanciful, memories.

The route I finally decided upon for my walk began at Mrs. Macquarie's Point, which is more correctly known as Yurong Point by the indigenous Gadigal inhabitants. Here, in 1810, was a large seat or bench hand carved by convicts for the benefit of Elizabeth Macquarie, the wife of major General Lachlan Macquarie, governor of New South Wales.

From there I walked around Farm Cove, which forms the coastline of the Royal Botanic Gardens. originally known as Woccanmagully, it was the site of a farm to sustain Government House and the first Governor, Arthur Phillip.

The filming ceased close to the iconic Sydney Opera House, designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon.  
I gazed across Sydney Cove to 'The Rocks' before continuing towards Circular Quay and it was at this point that the current film ends.

Details of the second walk will be posted soon.