Past Residencies


Anna Nazzari
July – August, 2004


 
         

(WA)

There once was a young woman who stayed in a small town for four weeks. She herself had grown up in a small city, which in actual fact was more like a large town. For the past five years however she had lived in a different city, which was larger than the small town she visited for four weeks and again larger than the small city where she had spent her youth.

When she first arrived in the small town, she was a stranger on a platform with some scuffed red suitcases. She stood and waited for what seemed like an extraordinarily long time, but in reality it was only an hour. Restless, she dragged her scuffed red suitcases across the road and stood outside a door she believed to be her point of entry. Upon realizing her house key, which had been a faithful friend in the city, was luckless in opening this door, she was forced to listen to a bird swooping low under the veranda eaves. The bird, young and restless, crowed at her indignantly to fetch a key from the chemist next store. As it turned out the bird's unusual offering proved accurate and the chemist's key soon permitted her entry. Thus, it was here she would sleep and work for the next four weeks.

On her first day in this new environment an unexpected Artist's statement cleansing occurred. The cleansing was not dissimilar to a burning purification, no burning officially took place, but the young woman knew this frenetic act was meant to smoke out the past and welcome in her newness. On the tail of the cleansing, her difference was further welcomed with a serving of fresh lamb in red wine sauce. The meal was a novel consumption for the young woman, as she had not tasted meat for over a decade, suggested neither defeat nor victory to the young woman and aesthetically she knew she must revolt from both possibilities.

The first night in the young woman’s new dwelling was bitterly cold and so she positioned three electric heaters, all with differing levels of functionality, around her body. As she lay in their artificial warmth, the still night was shattered by the rumblings of discordant trains and the intermittent shriek of a smoke alarm whose echoic appeal flooded every ounce of available space. Amidst the chaotic silence the young woman dreamed of her large town and her recently exited city. She saw the trains, whose cacophonous symphony glided through the small town, as tractors repeatedly harvesting. The young woman realized that these absurd vehicles were actually incapable of harvesting and instead rolled in and out of site like army tankers leaving or arriving for a mission. Their hidden cause suggested neither defeat nor victory to the young woman and aesthetically she knew she must revolt from both possibilities.

The following day the young woman explored the small town. She bought items at an op-shop, hardware store and small supermarket, she scanned relics on display at an antique emporium, she walked past deserted businesses and stopped to gaze wistfully at three houses that had been destroyed by electric heater fires.