Grounded Light (2003)
A promenade performance/installation event staged along the journey to a mountain summit with a performer emanating light and sound. The work continued on the summit with a video installation in the lookout tower and a live trombonist surrounded by hundreds of white lights quivering in the wind - accompanied by stunning 360 views of the shire’s lights, floating over the ground, far below. Involved site specific performance & installation with light, sound & projections.
1: Floating Land' Festival, 17–18 October, 7.30pm, 2003. Journey up to and on Summit of Mt. Tinbeerwah, Noosa, Queensland, Australia, curated by Kevin Wilson.
TEAM: Keith Armstrong (co-artistic director), Lisa O'Neill (performer/co-director), Ben Marks (sound and live performance), assisted by James Muller/Earthbase Productions.
MORE: From the mountain, one can observe the general shape of the land, the flocking of life to the coast, the deep scars of forest clearing, and, as the sun sets, the pinpoint lights of human dwellings. Much of the story of western settlement can be read from the marks in the land. This settlement has occurred, however, not so much IN the land, but OVER the land. We have thrown our civilisation like a picnic blanket over this country, often with little regard for its rocks, sticks & dirt, which seem of little significance or consequence to the way we live our lives. Whilst Indigenous Australians are profoundly connected to that ground, our colonial history has been correspondingly un-grounded: We continue to scratch our marks upon that ground, yet never actually ‘touch’ it.
The project was primarily inspired by Paul Carter’s assertion in his book 'The Lie of the Land' that we walk “over the ground”, appreciating it “only in so far as it bows down to our will”. His suggestion that we float over the Australian terrain rather than touching the land is implied by our ongoing habit of wiping “it out; to lay our foundations on rationally apprehensible level ground”. In his writings he calls for an environmental consciousness to confront this deep psychological discomfort, something he suggests may be invoked through an “environmentally grounded poetics”. This work considers such a poetics through moving image, sound and communication.