Exploring Arkaroola

Arkaroola is a stunning place. My recent trip there in June with Jessica Brooke Anderson has been planned over the course of the last year. Our original intention was to spend time there observing the night starscapes - it is a famous location for clear skies and stunning views of the Milky Way. 

We were able to do some sky observing, including a couple of visits to Arkaroola's own telescope dome - but much of our viewing included staring at clouds and muttering about the weather. 

One of the wonderful and frustrating things about art projects that involve travel to remote locations is unpredictability. We can plan everything in detail - but weather, flooded roads, and all sorts of other unexpected happenings can turn everything upside down. 

This need to be flexible and responsive to the situation gave us the opportunity to experiment and make new work that may otherwise not have been developed. Not knowing if, or when we'd be able to act on our plans meant we needed to live in the moment, to observe our environment closely and pay attention to the changing conditions. This generated conversations - we discussed our experiences and observations - noted when we'd been thinking along the same thought lines and where we were experiencing resistance, doubt, fear, exhilaration and wonder.

We moved slowly, took our time, and looked closely - at the ground, the flora, the colours... We listened - to the wind, to the silence - feeling the stillness of the air when we stood on the ridge-tops and the thud of unseen wallabies avoiding us as we navigated along narrow walking tracks.

During the wet days we set up a makeshift studio in the common area of the accommodation, drawing and writing, sketching out ideas and making notes for future reference.

 Arkaroola, early morning

Arkaroola, early morning

 The Gallery at Arkaroola, this functions as a common room and dining area for visitors. It also became and excellent studio space for us during our stay.

The Gallery at Arkaroola, this functions as a common room and dining area for visitors. It also became and excellent studio space for us during our stay.

 Jessica working on a long roll of rice paper - we used these scrolls like diaries to create drawings documenting our observations over the period we were working at Arkaroola.

Jessica working on a long roll of rice paper - we used these scrolls like diaries to create drawings documenting our observations over the period we were working at Arkaroola.

 Experiments with ink and watercolour on rice paper

Experiments with ink and watercolour on rice paper

 So still and silent on the ridge top - not even a breath of wind - all I could hear was the ringing in my ears...

So still and silent on the ridge top - not even a breath of wind - all I could hear was the ringing in my ears...