“I am still watching ghosts, eyes rimed with salt, homesick… this was never our natural state, our true inheritance… we should not be here…” While walking around the Circular Key area of Sydney Harbour, I was struck by the disconnect between the crowds of people going about their current-day activities and the deep timelines of the area. Despite the urban infrastructure largely obliterating so much of what, and who, was once there, the power of natural environment remains inescapable, the precariousness of our hold on place seems obvious.
The video footage was shot around Sydney, Melbourne, the Anglesea region of the Victorian coast, Adelaide, the Flinders Ranges, and the coastline of the Fleurieu Peninsula. Many of the scenes were composited and animated from multiple sources. In the face of one of the driest and hottest years on record, the transition from flood to fire seemed to be a fitting visual metaphor to complement the text. Despite the warnings, I doubt many of us expected the reality to be as devastating as it has turned out to be.
Ian Gibbins is a widely-published poet, video artist and electronic musician with four collections of poetry: Urban Biology (2012); The Microscope Project: How Things Work (2014); Floribunda (2015) and A Skeleton of Desire (2019). Ian’s videos have been shown regularly at international festivals, having won or been short-listed for multiple awards. His audio and video work has been commissioned for public art programs, and has featured in several gallery shows and installations. In his former life, Ian was an internationally recognised neuroscientist and Professor of Anatomy at Flinders University, South Australia. For details of Ian’s creative work, visit his website.