Interviews, reviews and discussions

Over the last few years, I’ve been fortunate to be interviewed about my work for various festivals, events and websites. I’ve also been involved in discussions of my work with other artists. Every now and then, someone reviews or comments on my work. I am extremely grateful to all the people who have taken the time to be involved. Here are links to some of these items.

It was a huge pleasure to be interviewed by acclaimed poet David Adès for Poets’ Corner hosted by Westwords. Each month a poet is invited to read and talk about their poetry on a theme of the poet’s choice.

For this episode, we talked on the theme of Limits of language, limits of experience in the context of my poetry videos. We covered a lot of ground but the conversation falls naturally into more or less bite-sized chunks. We start with an extended discussion on the nature of video poetry, how they are made, how they can work, and more. Then we go on to talk about some of my specific pieces.

The Youtube clip includes excerpts of these videos, in order: after-image; Palingenetics; and furthermore (indexed); A Click here for more.

Dragonflies swarming

For several days in December, 2022, Adelaide and surrounding areas swarmed with large dragonflies, that have bred in the very wet spring we’ve had this year. In this video, I’ve used a frame echo process to track and digitally illuminate the flight paths of the dragonflies as they fly around our garden in Belair, South Australia.

The soundtrack includes some of our native birds that were calling at the time: rainbow lorikeets, eastern shrike-thrush, magpies, red wattlebirds, New Holland honeyeaters, and kookaburras, as well as passing human traffic. The flower in the final sequence is a kangaroo paw, native to Western Australia.

Dragonflies have some of the most accomplished aerial abilities of any animal, with both high speed and high manoeuvrability. Associated with this, they have an advanced visual system, capable of seeing a wide range of colours as well as polarised light with very high resolution. Moreover, the part of the eyes that look up towards the sky have different optical properties compared with areas that look down, as befits the different environments in each visual domain. All this makes them extremely effective predators of other flying insects. Their larvae are fully aquatic and are also fierce predators, living … Click here for more.

Ferrovores: the iron eaters in Antennae

Issue 59 of antennae – the journal of nature in visual culture is now out on the theme Microbial Ecologies. It is an extraordinary collection of multidisciplinary practices, approaches, methodologies, and conceptions to help us see and value the microbial worlds that until recently have remained invisible. As editor Giovanni Aloi says, “It is only by recognizing and engaging with microbial agencies that fuller networks of interconnectedness will enable us to tell the stories we truly need for our time and for the future.”

I’m delighted to have a piece in this edition. Ferrovores: the iron eaters is an extended version of the text of my video The Ferrovores.

Iron is the most common metal on earth. Indeed, it forms much of the molten core of the planet which in turn generates the earth’s magnetic poles. The red soils of the world are due to iron. At a biochemical level, iron is essential for human life, amongst other things, making our blood red. In the societal domain, iron is essential for manufacturing, electricity generation, and much more. Certain bacteria can derive energy for life directly from dissolved iron compounds (“rust”) rather than from oxygen as we do. Perhaps, at … Click here for more.

palingenetics at Fotogenia

My recent video palingenetics has its world-premiere screening at the 2022 edition of Festival Fotogenia – Poetryfilm, Videoart, Experimental Cinema, Avant-garde films run out of Mexico City. This is one of my favourite festivals: it has broad, inclusive remit, and it is incredibly well organised with a strongly supported sense of community. Through participation in previous festivals, I have built a network of friends and colleagues not only in Mexico, but across the world. Along the way, I have been learning to make Spanish text versions of the videos, such as this one (with help from the DeepL AI translator and a good dictionary).

palingenetics is a complex piece. The term “palingenesis” (literally “born again”) can mean

  1. the apparent repetition during embryological development of changes that occurred previously in the evolution of its species; 
  2. the regeneration of magma by the melting of metamorphic rocks; 
  3. spiritual rebirth through the transmigration of the soul; 
  4. the on-going recurrence of historical events, notoriously alluded to by 20th century fascist movements.

The text in italics samples the first line of chapters from The Evolution of Man: A Popular Scientific Study. Volume 1: Human Embryology or Ontogeny; Volume 2: Human Stem-History, or Phylogeny by … Click here for more.

World’s end…

With the COP27 – the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – now running in Egypt, it was even more disheartening to read recent reports in the major science journals that the melting of the polar ice caps, the Greenland ice-cap and glaciers all around the world is accelerating at a pace beyond previous predictions.

The Arctic ice cap is likely to disappear permanently within the next few years, which will further increase global warming due to the higher heat absorbing capacity of open ocean compared with reflective and insulating ice. The West Antarctic ice shelf is melting more quickly than previously predicted, as scientists have discovered more about the complex structure of the shelf and its interactions with the underlying geology. If this massive volume of ice melts, sea levels will rise by several metres, inundating most coastal cities and communities.

Over and above the sea level rises due to ice-melt, global warming will increase the volume of the oceans due to thermal expansion, further adding to the permanent flooding of our coastlines.

As individuals, there is depressingly little we can do in the short term – major changes in direction … Click here for more.

SALA 2022: The Life We Live…

SALA is Australia’s largest and most inclusive visual arts festival, which takes place in galleries and non-traditional arts spaces across South Australia annually, during the entire month of August. Each year, around 8,000 emerging, mid-career and established South Australian artists exhibit in more 500 venues across the state, from sheds, cafés, offices and retail spaces to wineries, schools, public spaces, galleries, major arts institutions and on-line events.

For SALA 2022, I have compiled a collection of my recent videos that explore the unreliable interactions between visual perception and language. In a world of artificial intelligence, what is real? In a multi-lingual society, whose voices do we hear? When language begins to fragment, where do we find meaningful narrative?

I also have an on-line artist talk in which I explain some of the techniques involved in making one of my most successful collaborations, The Life We Live Is Not Life Itself. You will also find links to recent articles I have written about my creative process, the role of translation in video poetry, and how narrative works in short form video.

An Introduction to the Theory of Eclipses

eclipse (n. countable and uncountable)

1. An alignment of astronomical objects whereby one object comes between the observer and another object.
2. A seasonal state of plumage in some birds adopted temporarily after the breeding season.
3. Obscurity, decline, downfall.

An Introduction to the Theory of Eclipses has its premiere screening and won the Staff Favorite Film Award at Another Whole in the Head – Warped Dimension FilmFest 2022, run on-line out of San Francisco, 14-15 May, 2022. It was developed from some animated sequences I made for our 2022 Adelaide Fringe show UGLY – A NOT Fairytale, in which one of the characters was Eclipse, played by Michael Jaxon Carson. The original concept was inspired by Inori-Prayer-, a short video made by WOW Inc to promote their projection mapping system.

The animations here were very complex to make. The faces are made by an artificial intelligence system (Generated Media, Inc) that was trained on a huge library of images of real faces. This is the same system I used for a previous video: The Life We Live Is Not Itself. However, I composited real eyes (mine!) onto some of them. The … Click here for more.