Over the last few years, I’ve enjoyed spending time around the Port Adelaide area of South Australia. The Port is steeped in histories: First Nations, Colonial, Modern. To varying degrees, it lays bare the evidence of contests within and between these multi-faceted stories. As a sea-port with changing priorities, its environment is constantly under threat from natural and anthropogenic sources.
I’ve used footage taken around Port Adelaide in two of my most successful videos, floodtide and after-image. In each case, the raw images have been composited with multiple sources and animated to create visual worlds that hover in an uncertain space between the real and the imaginary.
Since 2018, I’ve been privileged to be part of a group of artists largely based in Port Adelaide and have contributed to their group exhibitions at Hart’s Mill, Port Adelaide, curated by Tony Kearney: BRIDGE (2018), VESSEL (2020) and HOLD (2022). I’ve now extended and reworked some of that material, along with some new work to create a trilogy of short videos recorded around Port Adelaide exploring the interactions between image and text, between histories real and imagined.
“toe hold… strangle hold… host fast… hold on for the ride of your life…”
From the core elements of language, and the rules by which it is constructed, we can find narrative in fragments that float past us. But we need to unlock the doors of preconception, unshutter the windows of expectation…
The video sequence is composited from images taken around Hart’s Mill, Port Adelaide, South Australia. The audio is built up entirely from a single spoken sample of “hold”. A different version was exhibited at HOLD, Hart’s Mill, Port Adelaide, Adelaide Fringe Festival, February – March, 2022, curated by Tony Kearney.
“between my palms, what remains of my fingertips arc reciprocated, overlain, clinkered into holdall and makefast, glint by verge and circumference…”
On the shores of the Port, the ruins of sea-farers past and present, a chance for rescue, a lifeboat, left high and dry.
Images and audio recorded around Port Adelaide, South Australia. Images and text originally published in otoliths 63 (2021).
“At sea-rim, sky-base, afloat somewhere between head (bone-dense) and shoulder, between blink or flinch and occasional shrug: the thick inward draw and effort of gyre, draught, push, pulse, pull…
gar, mako, kraken… under threat of claw, spine, barb… flensed to wind spume, brawn paled to cloud roll…”
Moored at portside, we ponder the uncertainty of what lies ahead. We know there are dangers: the ocean, quiet for now; impenetrable fogs; beasts watching us, lurking in anticipation; perhaps only the monsters of our imagination, the destruction wrought by our greed and disregard for the natural world.
The video is composited from footage from around Port Adelaide along with algorithmically generated animations. The soundtrack is built up from samples recorded at Birkenhead Bridge, which is seen in the title sequence. The audio samples were used to construct a soundscape for Water Under the Bridge, an installation with Tony Kearney, as part of BRIDGE, The Packing Shed, Hart’s Mill, Port Adelaide, Adelaide Fringe Festival, 23rd February – 11th March, 2018. The text in the video is adapted from The White – A Note on the Text originally published in e•ratio 26, 2018, inspired by Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, or The Whale.