This video installation was created in 2016 during a 6 week residency at BigCi, Bilpin, NSW – a response to the imminent death of two pristine waterfalls and the fragile ecosystem of the hanging swamps that feed them – tragic and unnecessary victims of our voracious appetite for ever more coal from an industry already on its last legs.
Motivated by their imminent demise A preventable death, uses projection, poetry and sound to tell the story of a threatened landscape.
Video footage is projected into two IV drip bags and the surrounding space, creating an immersive landscape that takes the viewer on an emotional journey.
A preventable death
The Gang Gang waterfall hasn’t forgotten. How those old primitives unfurled their viridian wands, proffered their bodies and lay down their lives.
So many millennia have passed by the slow decomposition of those fronds as they dreamt of the cold cold coal dark.
A waterfall sings of the petrified earth.
If we listen, we can hear how the first life forms appeared in the oceans and crawled out on their amphibious bones. Triceratops came and went grazing in herds. The first people of Australia walked onto their lands.
Hannibal marches across Europe with his elephants. Joan of Arc burns. And still they sleep on their pillows of mud reconstituting their elements and dreaming of chlorophyll.
Coal! What sacrifices were made on your behalf. What eons of time: water, the perfect bed for a cemetery; gravity, the best possible device to pull up over your adolescence for all eternity.
A waterfall is singing of the petrified earth.
There’s something it says as it falls down we can still feel. The weight of the water drumming on rock. But so close to dying as it falls, as it repeats the old songs.
There are cracks in the earth – violence is driven by insatiable appetites. We’re mining our hearts. The eons undone in one open cut.
The long dreams of the earth seep out with the groundwater like stale tears. Plants! This can’t be why you lay down for millennia in the dark, for this brief moment of unsustainable heat.
Look how the rocks collapse as they lose heart – whole mountain sides let go their centuries. Custodians of the past giving up their ghosts.
Too fast, too fast, the waterfall keeps saying as it falls. And can’t keep up. Its pulse is dying, and all the gardens of the swamps that fed it for years – the Eden we don’t even know we still have.