BLINDSIDE SUMMER STUDIO
Residency January 2018
Exhibition | 18 - 20 January 2018
Opening Night | Thursday 18 January, 6 - 8pm
Fayen d'Evie + Katie West
During the residency, we plan to invite conversations about embodied approaches to archiving, and to experiment with writing stories, histories and concepts handled as part of the Museum Incognita's first phase of embodied encounters. The residency will evolve organically, with openness to change, culminating in a public exhibition that may include performative lectures or storytelling, tactile and audio texts, and new sculptural elements to build our nomadic architecture.
The bus is a bit too large for the narrow country roads, so it is difficult to turn around and find another way. Dajan, our guide, is sure the monastery is nearby. We have assumed that he had visited this place before, but it seems this is not the case. After stopping a few more times to ask locals for directions, the bus begins to climb a stony path up a steep hill. We wonder if the old bus will make it. Then the bus lurches to a stop. The driver tells Dajan that if we want to go further, we will have to walk. We are slightly sceptical about the existence of the monastic ruins, but the busload of people have already started to follow Dajan out the door. We are soon distracted from doubt as we walk along a path with a view of healthy green fields that stretch for miles from this vantage point. The path is lined with wildflowers and tall trees. I recognise species that also grow in Australia. In small groups we stop to pick bright red sour cherries, negotiating our outstretched arms around stinging nettles to reach them. The path winds on.
Someone up ahead shouts. They have found the Medieval monastery, as Dajan had promised. First we notice the church and realise that this is still a place of worship. Even though the roof is gone, and what is left of the walls is overgrown, offerings of flowers and alcohol have been placed with care amongst the stones and foliage. Next to the church, sitting a little lower down the hill, is what must have been the dining hall. The walls of this building are mostly intact. Windows frame the forest outside, as they must have done for the monks who once lived there. We find another room with gothic windows still in place. Some people take a moment to fold their arms and stand there with a satisfied smile of awe. Others take their bodies closer to touch the windows and walls, to handle the texture and angles of the cuts in the stone. There is quite a congregation in this room. Someone arrives with wild strawberries, which we pass around, sniffing. The smell is strong and sweet.
Just as I turn to leave this room, I notice the imprint of seashells on the wall. The monastery is built from an ancient seabed. Our hands meet the forms of bodies from the time when the Earth was mostly ocean.
Katie West is an interdisciplinary artist focused on the renewal of human connections with and within the more-than-human world. Katie identifies as Yindjibarndi, who are Indigenous peoples from Western Australia. Her previous body of work Decolonist considered the practice of meditation as a means to decolonise the self.
Fayen d'Evie is an artist based in Muckleford, rural Australia, who explores blindness as a radical critical position, attuned to complex embodiment, sensory translations, material histories, ephemerality, obscurity, the tangible, and the invisible. Fayen is also the founder of 3-ply, which investigates artist-led publishing as an experimental site for the production, translation and archiving of knowledge.
Images: We are the Museum Incognita Belgrade, 2017. Photo: Boris Buric. Courtesy the artists.
The Museum Incognita revisits neglected or concealed or obscured histories, activates embodied readings, and archives ephemeral artworks and practices. Founded on an indigenous custodial ethic, and shifting landscapes, the infrastructure enfolds performative encounters and a nomadic sculptural architecture, with gathering vessels, botanical furnishings, tactile texts, and woven mnemonics for oral storytelling.