I have the honour of creating a library of images for the Catholic Education Office in Townsville. I'll visit all 32 schools in the Townsville Diocese to capture images of the kids and all aspects of the various Catholic Schools in Townsville and regional QLD. Over the next several weeks I'll shoot about 35,000 images and deliver approximately 6,000 to the Office. I'll do a blog post soon of some of my favourite school images but for now here are some images from my road trip to the schools in Western QLD - Charters Towers, Hughenden and Winton. It's my 4th time out there and a drive that I absolutely love. It's also the first time I've seen grass near Winton. Problem been that following the rain all the fly's hatch out and they were a total nightmare - my tropical strength roll on Aeroguard was completely useless. Within seconds after stepping out of the car you were attacked by dozens of them wanting to get into your nose, mouth and ears.At one stage while doing bit of a "psychogeography" walk around Winton a gentleman drove up in his 4x4 and asked if I wanted to look at the racecourse. In true psychogeography fashion I thought well why not as there could be some good photographic possibilities out there. He showed me his race winning ponies, the local dam and so forth. As we neared the stables I noticed a massive cattle prod next to where I was sitting. I suddenly thought that this is way too "Wolf Creek" for my liking and kindly asked if he could return me back to town. He of course obliged and I was safely delivered back to the corner he picked me up from - "thanks mate that was interesting" All these images were processed with the recently released VSCO film pack 5 which is dedicated to create the look of archetypal colour negative emulsions from days gone by.
I've had plenty of time recently to kill between shoots out at James Cook University in Townsville. What better way to spend the time than trying to come to terms with the architecture of many of the original buildings out there. We are all familiar with the term "Sandstone Universities" - well for my money the original JCU must be described as a "Concrete University" or "Besser Block University". Of course things architecture wise have changed considerably in recent years with a new crop of buildings - SoCA, ATSIP, Education Central and the Clinical Practice Building. The Cairns campus has also received an architectural makeover with the recently finished and extraordinary Cairns Institute.Back to the original JCU buildings which seem totally out of place in the tropical environment. These days it's all about sustainability, sympathy to the environment and the intended use of the facility. These buildings which at first I thought were terribly ugly and presented a very cold, austere and institutional look I have recently become quite fond of. I enjoy the fact that they would seem to be prime examples of "Brutalist Architecture" with a nod towards the work of Le Corbusier. No need to travel overseas to view some iconic architectural styles - its all right here in sunny Nth Queensland.
I felt honoured to be asked by Gallery Services in Townsville to photograph Dadang Christanto's amazing performance art work "Survivor". It was an incredible experience watching the volunteers stand virtually motionless for two hours. My images were then printed and displayed on the walls of Pinnacles Gallery.
Survivor is a major performance piece by Dadang Christanto, which had its Australian premier in Sydney at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (4A). The work illustrates the impact of human disaster, with particular reference to the tragic man-made mud catastrophe in the Sidoarjo region of East Java. Volunteers silently occupy the gallery space, covered in mud from the neck down whilst holding photographic portraits of individuals who disappeared as a result of the disaster.
In 2006, hot volcanic mud started erupting from the site of a gas exploration well. To date, 11 villages in East Java have been effectively wiped out. Christanto's interest in this disaster relates to his previous work about his father's disappearance during the Suharto regime in the mid-1960s. In the context of the mud disaster, the unrelenting build up of mud in the region is slowly consuming surrounding villages. As 4A's Director, Aaron Seeto, explains, "The entire history of a village - its livelihood and future is being buried under the mud. While Christanto's work is politically confronting, it is also a poetic experience that reminds us of human fragility and erasure in the face of disaster."
Dadang Christanto was born in 1957 in Tegal, Central Java and studied painting in Yogyakarta. Over the past decade his work has gained recognition across Australia with solo exhibitions at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Sherman Galleries in Sydney, and at the Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory. Christanto has been included in two Asia-Pacific Triennials at the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane and exhibited in key contemporary Asian art museums in the Asian region in Fukuoka Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Kwangju Biennale (2000), and the Venice Biennale (2003). In 1997, in recognition of his long-term artistic achievement, he was a recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant.
Time for a change of pace with my trusty tripod, wide angle lens and a sore neck. Perfect conditions today to try for some "cloud blurs" with 50/50 mix of blue + clouds and a bit of wind. All these buildings apart from the jetty are within 10 minutes walk from my studio in Townsville and a couple are newly completed additions to the local skyline.