1. Photos from the 2012 Next Wave season along and across the Yarra River at Southbank, Melbourne.

    Photos by Max Milne Photography.

  2. Prelude

    I tend to live my life a little haphazardly. Project to project, I make my route up as I go; dots on a page, or bends in the river.  I’m not into planning every minute detail of my life, listing goals and scheduling a time for them to be achieved. I often book flights a few days before I take off, which is expensive, but knowing what I’m doing at 8.50 on Saturday morning six months in advance scares the hell out of me. I work hard and live large in the day that I am in, without regard for the hangover the next morning or the world that I didn’t get to see in that day. I will work through that hangover, I will see some more of the world tomorrow. This is a lifestyle that is not ideal for those in our society who have stable jobs that require a regular routine.

    But then, I’m an artist…

    Three weeks ago The Shore / The Boat / The Stream / The Bridge was a show I wanted to see and a launch party I wanted to go to. Now I’m two days away from launching myself head first into the project, taking on a performative and an administrative role. The show is being born as I type. A crew of inquisitive artistic folk are munching on questions and digesting possibilities. The show has, as it’s priority, one of my favourite things in the world: a curiosity for the world we live in. It asks us to reevaluate our place, here in Melbourne, our home or adopted city: how do we live here? Do we build bridges, do we cruise playfully downstream, do we stay on the shore? What compels us to cross, what keeps us firmly on one side? And, what does the person sitting next to you in the boat (the tram, the train, the office cubicle, the café table) think about all this? If my view is only my own, what can I gain from listening to my fellow passenger along the way?

    theSBSB is drifting gently along at the moment in Bundanon, charting its path as it goes and exploring all possibilities before steering it back home to Melbourne. I can’t wait to jump on board!  


  3. lewisjme:

    i went on my first site visit this morning. it’s not an unfamiliar place. i mean, i’ve had to walk across this river to school everyday back in 2010. and i’ve been around the area too, because i have had to get across, or around, or something. but hardly, have i sat around, and just watched. so today, i sat at ponyfish island, and got myself a cup of coffee, and sat looking towards st kilda road.

    it’s a drizzly morning. there is no smell of rain. there is no smell of a gunky river either. ok, so maybe it’s not exactly gunky, but it’s a dark brown, and after what it has gone through over history and development, this river is not clean.

    i look over the table top, into the water, and the first memory that comes to me is that of me slumped over a friend’s shoulder as we sit by the bank of the Singapore River, puking my guts out into the water on a drunken night. this was a while ago now, i assure you, but definitely an embarrassing memory. i wonder, how many others, have done the same here?

    joggers, the business suits, tourists with cameras slung over their necks, school kids on excursion, footsteps from the bridge above me; dust falls onto my journal as i write this. everything and everyone is constantly moving around me.

    trams, cars; a steady stream of traffic all over. the iconic Flinders’ Street Station, the Central Business District towering above in the skyline, the spire of the Arts Centre, the MCG in the distance, hints of Federation Square - images in which the City of Melbourne is depicted, mostly in daggy postcards, which i love. (see !Metro Arts Free Range residency work

    it’s not a cold day, but on my face, a cool air in the wind. a bird sits on the table with me.

    the river cruise ferry is parked at its berth; no passengers. i’ve never gone on one of this, not even when i was a tourist here 3 years ago. i realise, i’ve never gone on one in Singapore either; river cities.

    my thoughts go back to the work at free range, where i found resonance of singapore in brisbane because of the rivers in which our cities are built around; the stream.

    i’m curious now, to learn about the yarra. where does this river run? what was the river used for before? what does it do now, if all we seem to want to do is get across; the bridge.

    to sit in a cafe under a bridge, on water, despite its precautionary structures in place, we fear, ok i have a nagging fear that my belongings may fall over, into the water. and yet, a thrill, a beauty, of being close to water. i stare into the water for a while, as if i can see anything beneath the murky brown. i imagine my iphone dropping in, and sinking right to the bottom. i want to reach over and dip my fingers into the dysentery filled water, just because; the boat.

    or that one can imagine a cafe under a bridge; of function and of aesthetic. that i can sip on a soy flat white, and smoke a cigarette, while i gaze at the picturesque view that is Melbourne before me. what is space, in a city? with an endless flow of water, people, and vehicles; traffic, in all directions towards and against and around this river. how do we traverse a/this city? what is the life of a/the city, if not these joggers, business suits, tourists with cameras slung over their necks, school kids on excursion, footsteps from the bridge above me, trams, cars, and ferries; the shore.

    ruminations; more to come.

    (Source: lewisjme)

  4. Summer Research

    I’ve been doing a lot of research over summer. It’s nerd work, but time consuming enough that it won’t be possible later on - I feel like it’s all laying a good ground work for our upcoming creative developments too.

    Late last year LC and I went on the Walkin’ Birrarung walking tour run by the Koorie Heritage Trust. It starts at Enterprise Wharf (now next to the Melbourne Aquarium) and takes you along both banks up to nearly the Southgate Pedestrian Bridge. It was one of those occasions as that I came up short - again and again - unable to answer some of the elementary facts about the place where I grew up. The tour gave another overlay (probably actually an underlay) to places that I so often see and walk on. Tullamarine/Tullamareena’s story shocked me the most. A terrific tour - a must do.

    One INCREDIBLE book that gives more depth and breadth to the indigenous and colonists meeting is The Place For A Village, by Gary Presland.

    Coming from a natural history perspective Presland outlines the regions development over time, from geological events, evolution of animals and plant life, to human usage (both indigenous and colonial) and illustrates the reasons why the city of Melbourne we see has developed the way it has.

    Particularly relevant chapters for us include in depth writing on the stream systems of the Maribyrnong and Yarra and their tributaries. Basically, the Yarra as we know it today has been modified and “improved”, to use the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works lingo, from Dight’s Falls in Collingwood all the way to the bay. Occasional streams, such as the William’s Creek or “Townend River” flowed from where Melbourne University now sits, down Bouverie St, Elizabeth St and into the Yarra.

    [See artwork League of Resonance, Jess Olivieri, Sarah Rodigari, Jason Mailing]

    Contemporary freeways follow the valleys and stream paths of Yarra tributaries Gardiners and Koonung Creeks and Maribyrnong tributary Moonie Ponds Creek.

    Woodhouse, Clarence MELBOURNE IN 1838, FROM THE YARRA YARRA

    But, most important of all to the colonisation of the area was the rock ledge that ran from about Queen St across the Yarra, which incidentally accidentally gave name to the Yarra as we now know it. The falls separated fresh water from upstream, from the salt water downstream, making the ideal site for the new colony. In several ways, the site of beginnings and ends.

    [See artwork Ecophene by Karen Abernethy]

    Next on the research list is Of Borders and Thresholds: Theatre History, Practice and Theory edited by Michal Kobialka (thanks to Jana Perkovic), reading up on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (and perhaps attending a community consultation), Judith Brett’s Quarterly Essay Fair Share: County and City in Australia and even a bit of creative development to make some of these hieroglyphs come alive…


  5. Jelly and ice boats Ahoy!

  6. The Village Festival, Edinburgh Gardens, North Fitzroy - This Sat @ 1:30pm & 2:30pm @theSBSB team will be playing some games! Come along and play with us and the rest of the Villagers. Entry into the Village walls is free and there’s plenty of fun to be had…


  7. Dear Coburg,

    The first Melbourne water birthing has begun. As the stream of Merri creek flowed from mountains to the wide opening of the Yarra we were blessed by the waters that to us to safety. Honestly the safety was always insured.


  8. Southbank > Williamstown: visual communication, language and signage from the journey.


  9. Southbank > Williamstown: The boats of the Yarra - tourists, speedboats, painted like trams, tug boats, container ships, war ships… I think all the rowers were hiding upstream!