Saturday, October 27, 2012

Geology - Terrain - Soil

 I'm finally back home again, looking at piles around me, wondering where to start. Firstly a wrap up of my residency at BigCi and experiences of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area.

After having an amazing time at Hill End I began to doubt my decision to work two residencies back to back, would one overshadow the other? Would I be as focused at BigCi? They were different residencies in several ways, but interesting parallels emerged, some quite unexpected. Orchards of fruit trees were a feature of both environments as was mining, both current and historic. In a way the vastness of the Blue Mountains area which posed a challenge initially, came to present the strong feature of place. The very structure of this landscape, its geology, terrain and soil is what has shaped its land use and in effect non-use by people. I found the patchwork of fertile and infertile soils, accessible and wilderness areas, juxtaposed against one another very interesting. I also realised that the scale of this landscape is not just about the hectares square it covers, but about the surface area of its terrain. In the escarpments, canyons and gullies, surface area is magnifold 10x, 20x, 50x? I don't really know precisely. Areas full of niches, vertical rock escarpments and plateaus with canyon caves underneath, create a multitude of microcosms supporting diversity of life.

So I found one residency informed the other, I could relate and contemplate experiences between them. I felt a heightened sense of awareness and focus. Partly I think due to my lack of obligations, I just needed to get up each day and look, really observe, reflect, make work, research, look some more...make some more work. Yes it was as good as it sounds, I am fortunate to have a very supportive partner, Thank you Phil! The residencies were an opportunity to be in the moment, the here and now in those landscapes.

Now I'm ready to get on with the work, very eager really with so much in my head. Will keep you posted with how it progresses.

 Top image is the lookout at Pulpit Rock, Blackheath. Image above is the track to Walls Lookout. Below is a small cave in Wollemi National Park, across the road from BigCi. The last image is from one of the caves at Sunnyside Canyon in the Gardens of Stone National Park; I described this previously as a small theatre size, when I look back at this image, it was more like a huge Imax theatre really. Getting off-track walking in the Gardens of Stone National Park was definitely one of the highlights during my BigCi residency.


  1. welcome home Nicola, looking forward to catching up and seeing the works you produce.