Past Residencies


nat&ali
not only but also
16th April - 9th May, 2004

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What do two artists with a five year history of collaborative practice (and one of them seven months pregnantl make, when left for a month in a remote town in Western Australia?

We had a rented three chip video camera, that we couldn't work and we both pined for lovers left far away, at home in Melbourne. Usually relying heavily on T.V. for artistic inspiration, we initially struggled with the limited viewing possibilities available on the box in Kellerberrin. Ideas began to trickle in, and some floated around- maybe a cooking show, or something on the street? The main street that is also the highway that connects the East and West of Australia.

We meet a few locals, Pauline and her ever-helpful husband James and the army of retired volunteers who sit the art gallery, run the Op Shop and the Book Exchange. Stories began to flow our way, but just as feelings of isolation dissipated, the Easter weekend arrived, even the co-op closed and it seemed like just about everyone left town. Or they were driving through, on their way somewhere else. Good Friday in Kellerberrin resembled the setting for a 1950's sci-fi flick.

We by then had only two weeks to stage an art show, in a generously sized gallery and decisions needed to be made, apart from what to crochet next. So hastily we frocked up into newly purchased Op Shop outfits, which somehow helped create a 'vibe'. A banner was made, brandishing a simple slogan, a request for passing motorists to 'Honk 4 Art'. We skipped excitedly, purposefully across the road, pleased to begin a project, even if we were still unsure what this project was, but then time had taught us that you can work that stuff out later, or not, depending on how interested you remain in the idea once the initial impulse has passed. And in Kellerberrin, loads of ideas remain 'in the can' maybe to emerge again later.

Back to Honk 4 Art early on, a Law Enforcement Van passed, we tensed sphincters anticipating trouble, but instead they honked.... And the 'spray of balloons' wasn't even set up yet. As motorists approached, we prepared by abstractly simulating a kind of horn blowing action, anticipating the desired response. And all manner of vehicle did respond- some resolutely silent, others puncturing the towns silence. A while later, a large group of cars and road trains passed, backed up in a traffic jam, the resulting frenzy providing (for us) an exciting climax to what some may view as an otherwise lazy work. Back home in Melbourne, a print of Drysdale's 'Sofala', also shrewdly purchased from the Kellerberrin Op Shop, continued to somehow remind us of the Easter weekend we spent alone in Kellerberrin. We've tampered with Drysdale's painting, adding a 'honk 4 art' image to its foreground.

As for Feeling Groovy, the accompanying footage of nat very pregnant, jigging away on railway tracks, many who have viewed that footage, claim it stays with them for a while longer than they'd hoped. The only explanation I can offer is that we had been considering several of the performative works of Leigh Bowery at the time, and the audiences resulting deeply felt feelings of embarrassment, some would say displeasure on viewing the works. So that, and Ron Muecks' large and impressive sculpture 'Pregnant Woman', are offered as inspirations for Feeling Groovy. Prior to completing this residency, we anticipated that one of our roles would be to somehow, and to some small extent, 're-invigorate' a rural town. I have no idea whether this resulted, but I am sure that what happened was more that the time afforded us at IASKA reinvigorated us, and our collaborative art practice.