Mixed Media, Multiple Locations, Installation for ARTLANDS Bendigo October 9- 14 2018

For this three part installation, I associated the covered walkway, with the flow of a river and an associated wellspring of metaphorical and literal meanings and values of rivers. 

River Gifts and Exchanges draws parallels and attention to rivers as the flow of life and  time, their connections between places, peoples and times and a river’s gifts and exchanges of health, food and energy. Like a river the installation connects and links between three sites of exchanges and gifts;  the Carriageway, the old horse stables at the back of Dudley House, and Ulumbarra Theatre.

River Gifts and Exchanges.- 

Rivers contain the flow of; life, time, water, food ,energy.  Rivers create connections between people, place, and times.

This work responds to the carriage way as a reminder of the importance of rivers for our environmental health and survival.

River Gifts and Exchanges intends to create connections between place and peoples in ; the walkway, the stables and Ulumbarra. These spaces are imagined as places of river-like flows of time-past present and future with the present moment.  Flows of people, energy, data, resources, electricity, high frequency radio waves, even perhaps subsonic faintest ripples from the big bang, reside in these places. Freshwater Rivers are sources of a diversity of unique individuals  such as the endangered Platypus and at least 210 species of beneficial red and green algae with air purification, food and crucial medical potentials. Flows of water are all too often now imprisoned/restricted/ in drains and pipes. And our economies  have been shaped by similar outdated thinking. Naturally arising, mutually beneficial exchanges have too often been replaced or limited by mechanistic and engineered models of plumbing. Western models of contrived supply and demand, continual growth, rather than, cyclical flows, gifts and exchanges; the abundance of sustainably cared for natural environment and peoples. 

The artwork will include photos, animation and audio recordings of underwater river sounds from the Loddon and Yarra rivers and local creeks and ponds. The stables will include olfactory and audiovisual projection and soundscape affected in real-time by tiny signals captured from exchanges between two plants, the surrounding atmosphere and visitors to the installation.



“Our rivers, lakes and swamps are sick. A legacy of past and current land management decisions have caused erosion, weed and pest issues and pollution from farm chemicals and mining contaminants throughout our Country. Water diversions and controlled flows mean that many of our rivers are getting water at the wrong time, or in the wrong volumes, and over-fishing is putting pressure on important species. It is a big task to heal our waterways so that they can continue to be the lifeblood of our Country.” http://www.djadjawurrung.com.au/rivers-waterways/

“During the Millennium drought(2001-2009), the Wimmera River stopped flowing.  Lack of water flow coupled with historic land clearing caused salty groundwater to came  to the surface and penetrate the river bed. The result: dead trees and unusable water that was toxic to stock and wildlife.”


Freshwater  River systems are among the most threatened ecosystems, where wildlife has declined faster than in the oceans or on land.

The Conversation   http://theconversation.com/we-all-live-downstream-its-time-to-restore-our-freshwater-ecosystems-58934

Climate projections indicate that Victoria’s climate is likely to be warmer and, for most of the state, drier than during the second half of the 20th century. …A rise in temperature of just 1°C in the Murray-Darling Basin would reduce annual inflow by 15% even if rainfall does not change [13].


“Beneath a thin veneer, the evidence of ancient Australia is everywhere, a pulsing presence. … The human presence here has been revealed to be more ancient than that of Europe, which was colonised by Homo sapiens some 40,000 years ago.  The Australian landscape … is now recognised to be cultural as much as natural, imprinted with the stories and law and shaped by the hands and firesticks of thousands of generations of indigenous men and women.”  From “Deep time dreaming”, Billy Griffiths 


"Art is not possible without intersubjective human experience because art is always a gift made for another, not a specific other, but a generalized person who is asked to read or listen or look”  it is “inherently dialogical”   From  “Living thinking  Looking “    Siri Hustvedt  


“Donut Economics”- increasing diversity, complexity and equality posited as alternative models to current unsustainable endless growth,