Our latest project is about to go live at the upcoming Castlemaine State Festival – March 14th- 22nd. It’s a collaboration between Frank Veldze, Suzanne Donisthorpe and Kate Osborne.
We’d also like to thank the brilliant Celeste Veldze and Jack Riddle who are the film-makers and Greg Haines and Kinja for the music.
Unsettled is a site responsive piece- to be shown at the very poignant Pennyweight Flat Children’s Cemetery. No more than a pennyweight of gold was ever found there- therefore it was deemed useless and so the land was reserved as a place to bury the children of the gold rush.Today, you see the circles of stones that mark the tiny graves and the very occasional headstone, with a single name fading into history.
Unsettled – play here
Still from Unsettled – Kate Osborne
For this project, in the foreground of the cemetery Frank Veldze has created a major sculpture – a 6 x 3 meter abstracted version version of a miner’s cottage made from mattress wire. A dream home if you like – symbolizing all the hopes and wishes that have played out on this sacred land. But is also an uncanny home that offers no shelter and is made from the rusty remains of mattresses- the very site of dreams. It is a home that sits uneasily in the land, a ruin, an illusion, a theft.
The ‘dream home’ will act as a kind of holographic screen onto which a film will be projected.
The film features Kate Osborne who has previously developed a character she called Post Colonial woman – a ghost like figure from the 1860’s that haunts the gold fields- an unsettled spirit. She also made an animation of a drawing where the image evolves and disappears, an idea that has been further explored in this work.
In the film you see the portrait of an unknown man being drawn by the woman alone in the house at night. Who is he we don’t know. Her lover perhaps? The father of her children? Is she drawing to remember him – and where is he? As the film progresses, you see him appear from the blank paper. The soundtrack is light and happy with the sound of laughing children. The woman seems to be dancing to the memory. But she grows sadder, you hear a child crying, the portrait she is drawing grows darker and darker. Eventually the man disappears under a veil of black charcoal.
Suddenly another man appears outside the house. A threat from the bush. The woman sees him and is frightened and drops the lamp. A fire engulfs the house. Then the surrounding trees. We are no longer in 1860- but in the here and now. We hear sirens and the voice of Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his controversial comments declaring before European settlement there was nothing but bush- that Australia was essentially unsettled.
The theme of the Castlemaine Festival is Before and Beyond. This work explores our unsettled relationship with the land, the changing environment and our unresolved relationship with black Australia.
If you want to come and see the full effect, it screens Sat 14th, Sun 15th, Fri 20th and Sat 21st March 2015, from 9-10.30 pm on a continuous loop. Duration 6 mins.
Pennyweight Flat Children’s Cemetery, Colles Rd Castlemaine
Free – no bookings required.