‘a homesickness for a home you can’t return to, or that never was.’

‘If we are inclined to forget how much there is in the world besides that which we anticipate, then works of art are perhaps a little to blame, for in them we find the same process of simplification or selection at work as in the imagination.’
– Alain de Botton, ‘The Art of Travel.’

Two worlds – the world of the location/culture, and the world of the exhibition.


A taxonomy of an invented culture.

The photograph as false archive. The power of choosing what to shoot and how.

National Geographic photos of Africa from the 1950s. A sociological / anthropological survey of the Other. The world as strange and foreign and mystical. That slightly superior, patronising British tone, explaining, framing a culture.

The way that captions attempt to convey a hugely complex event with a few terse words – ‘Birth ritual.’
‘The words mysticism and mystery are both related to a Greek verb meaning: ‘to close the eyes or the mouth.’ Both refer to experiences that are obscure and ineffable, because they are beyond speech, and relate to the inner rather than the external world.’
– Karen Armstrong, ‘A Short History of Myth.’

The sense of being a tourist, an outsider. Presenting an outsider’s account of a separate world. The impossibility of objectivity – you bring yourself to the place, and warp it with the retelling, the reshowing.

How to undermine this process? How to use humour/satire to break or expose this process?


Longing – for love, beauty, nostalgia, creation, passion, that particular piquant sadness almost like joy.

Tamara Dean’s sense of the holy familiar.

Perhaps the sense that this culture has formed in some post-apocalyptic fashion from the ruins of an Elizabethan civilisation, on the grounds of some more ancient civilisation – the wreckage of old statues, for example.

Tradition, ritual. Of love, death, birth, adolescence, marriage, conflict resolution. Rituals are about change in relationships – between people and of the self.

Good words – invocation, transfiguration, divination.

Things that keep floating around –
– gold.
– ‘the place where the dead things go’
– votive offerings
– transfiguration
– armour
– isolation
– flowers
– alchemy
– transcendence through ritual, fire, sex.

The water is a space of transcendence.


Based around Elizabethan tailoring – tuxedo shirts, waistcoats, cummerbunds, tails. Heavily detailed, faded, coloured, dyed, embroidered, beaded.
Faded brights – deep red, navy, yellows, purples, greens.

Gold as decoration, but also to convey function/status. Like, the dressmakers have gold fingers, or a poet literally has a golden tongue? Lovers with their nipples and genitals painted gold. A seer with totally gold pupils? Maybe blinded – the sockets filled in gold? Blinded to the world, but able to see the truth.


From above, hands hold a fish into water – in the water, it is a highly coloured fish, eg, a rainbow trout. Above the water, it is a prop – wooden carved, or made of beaten, painted metal scales. As it hits the water, it becomes real.

At dusk or dawn, a man wearing a sleeve of complex, gold armour, carrying a spear, stands, on a high rocky cliff and gazes off into the distance. Perhaps with an instrument – a caption like ‘calling up the sun.’ The idea of a dawn/dusk ritual.

Some sort of golem idea – fashioning life from the mud. Finding a body, reclothing with mud, brining back to life?


Shoot several couples – diverse sexuality.

I feel like love commitments should involve sacrifice and drama, blood. A ferocious coupling.

Some sense that these bonds need not be forever – a coupling ceremony and an uncoupling one.

Two spheres coming together – like a venn diagram:


Some sort of gold dermal piercing that is removed – like wire, so that when your love is current, it’s gold, and when removed, you are left with a red scar.
An older model with dozens of scars down their arms, the history of their loves.

Maybe for a period before the ceremony, you have to be physically connected – an embroidered string through lip piercings, so that you are forced to be close, connexted, communicative, compromising.

A process of marking the body with gold after sex – ‘The Burnishing.’
Following the lines of scratches / bite marks / finger marks / the line of the tongue with a paintbrush. Tracing where your bodies met.
A shot of someone’s back, marked with red scratches, as the lover starts painting them all gold.


A woman in labour, in water, surrounded by flowers, and two women holding her, supporting her. Dozens of women stand in a ring around them.

Some ritual for a miscarriage – the image of Fleur’s great grandmother beating her chest in the snow to stay alive and warm, the brusies left – some mass ceremony of chest-beating, to convey communal sadness.

Maybe the miscarriage image is the woman, in water, gold dripping from her breasts/heart, blood in water, surrounded by a ring of nude women, all either standing shoulder-to-shoulder, bearing witness, or all laying one hand on her.


Maybe for widows/widowers, the gold dermal piercing is replaced with a silver one?

The dead body of a man, shot from above, on a huge pyre of flowers, painted stones over his eyes. A hand intruding into frame, touching his hair, for example.


Location scout images, Maintongoon Rd, Bonnie Doon, Victoria.