Searching (Still), HD Colour Video, Single Channel, Sound, Duration 0.56 mins loop
From MADA NOW 2015 graduate exhibition, Monash University, Melbourne, 2015
Searching is a short film which documents the site of Adventure Bay, Bruny Island in Tasmania, where dozens of stone stacks have been built along an accessible section of the shore. What is at first a startling discovery and a seemingly light-hearted tourist activity during a point in the walking trail is darkened with the knowledge of the areas colonial past and serves as a reminder of it through the territory marking of building cairns.
On the journey to Adventure Bay one passes The Neck, a lookout with a memorial (also a cairn and plaque) to the treatment of Indigenous woman Truganinni and the Nuenonne people of Lunnawannalonna, the land now called Bruny Island since European settlement. Adventure Bay itself was renamed in 1773 after Captain Tobias Furneaux's ship 'The Adventure' landed subsequent to separating from Captain Cook’s ‘HMS Resolution.’
Though not in a position to directly confront the layered and horrendous past and present of the site and wider area; this intervention into the narrative addresses from a distance, the collective and accumulative occupation of the space. The camera lense acts as a witness navigating simultaneously alone yet through a landscape inscribed by successive presences and absences.
The superimposed staircase draws a parallel between the territorial building of domestic space and the simple act of stacking stones on less traversed landscapes. In many cases the triumph of ascending and thus conquering a mountain is marked by a physically present cairn. The top of the staircase acts as a view finder throughout the film, and continually reminds viewers of the territorial nature of building houses.