Embraced by Place
Photograph of Lake Weyba from Eumarella by Bianca Tainsh
I consider myself particularly fortunate to live and practice on an exceptional nature refuge, Eumarella. Subtropical forest meets wallum and melaleuca swathes along the shores of Lake Weyba, on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland. This varied and alluring landscape supports a diversity of ecosystems, making it a haven for all forms of fungi, above and below ground, often obscure, sometimes bioluminescent. But more about fungi in the next post.
Weyba has its own language. It is written in sounds, smells, manifest forms and metaphysical traces, all revealing a timescape layered with colonial crimes, indigenous presences, paradise commodification and natural phenomena. The place hums with energy, and it is easy to perceive that there are many more layers within this landscape than our superficial senses detect.
I was conceived on Eumarella, and though I grew up in the inner-city suburbs of Sydney, I have lived here on and off throughout my life. Visiting Eumarella always felt like a transition into an alternate reality, and maybe this dualism formed my parallel fascinations for both human and wild paradigms. But Eumarella has always been my anchor, and it is where the spirits of my family are embedded, perhaps in unison with the ancestral spirits of the Gubbi Gubbi that are this place.
After ten years in Melbourne to develop my arts career, I returned to Eumarella in late 2018. It was a major shift in environments and realities. My psyche was no longer being bombarded by commercial spectacle. It was now being flooded with natural phenomena and it was confusing the typically synthetic aesthetics of my practice. I had zoned into the colours, textures, the fascinating forms, and temporality, which were starkly contrasted to the digital graphics and commercial and institutional appropriation that I had developed over the past eight years.
It was this interruption and the disintegration of a major project with Covid-19 lockdowns that brought about a time of reflection, and eventually an epiphany. I had always considered my tendency for dualist interests as problematic.
consumerism, neuroscience, contemporary culture & experience, technology
connection to nature, speculative exploration, subjective spiritualism, the sentient landscape
Then I reminded myself that these dualisms are just the product of institutional categorisation and socio-political stereotyping. All I had to do was remove these perceived barriers and allow these spheres to coalesce, to intermingle and form new dialogues and propositions. These works are documentation of my first explorations as this new realm of possibility opened before me...
Archive of Meaning & Matter, 2022.
86.5 x 66.5 x 4 cm. Framed archival inkjet prints on Hahnemühle Bamboo paper, Weyba clay, ground volcanic rock and Swamp Mahogany bark.
The Semiotic Space called Earth, 2022.
86.5 x 66.5 x 4 cm. Framed archival inkjet prints on Hahnemühle Bamboo paper, Weyba sand, ground volcanic rock and Bloodwood bark.