Coal Country

c o a l –  w i n e –  f i s h –  s a l t –  w a t e r –  s m o k e

Coal Country, Newcastle East

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Detail of the 6 panels

Coal Country is a work in process. It is a mixed media audiovisual installation that looks at and predicts the effects of climate change on the Australian East coast landscape and from an aerial perspective the atmosphere above. Within the installation the visitor visually flies over and listens to six locations stretching from the regional peninsula at Newcastle East, the rural inland vineyards at Wollombi, the inlet at the Hawkesbury River, the bay at Pretty Beach, the coastal beach at Avalon and finally the King street urban landscape in the inner city Sydney suburb of Newtown where the work was originally conceived.

The six rural, coastal and urban images are distorted (stretched or warped) and show an interpretation of their satellite view. Within each, web like black, broken lines twist into themselves like a fracture in their earth’s structure. The cloudy skies above alter in hue from an aqua blue haze to violet and lime. Their discoloration represents the pollution of our atmosphere(s). Each image is digitally assembled on the computer using a selection of original photo media captured and processed by the artist.

Mounted below each of the six panel images are clear acrylic housings. Each of these contains a substance that is either produced by or of the location from where the image was taken and although each substance was gathered from that location it is not exclusive to it. The first five (coal to water) are the resources including, fuel, food and drink we either depend on or consume and the last (smoke) is a bi-product of this consumption and a consequence of land, air and sea travel. That we are so dependent on these resources and fuels and consume them to the extent we do is a part of life. Consumption is not the problem; it is the bi-product of our consumer society, human induced climate change that is the focus of this work.

The Australian culture and lifestyle presented in this work is not sustainable. It is a reflection on the deterioration of our rural, urban and coastal landscapes and their atmospheres and is intended to provoke a reaction to the ongoing ecological threat we pose to our environment.

Each panel is to be accompanied by a 5 to 10 minute soundscape, mixed and edited from location sound recordings, electronic & acoustic music composition and oral histories recorded from some of the oldest residence living in each of the six locations. They are intended as short narrative snapshots of the changes that have occurred in their environments and through their words try to provide solutions given to us from these wise and experienced community elders. Each image will be equipped with a headphone and CD set for individual audio playback.

Panel Dimensions (including perspex):
Newcastle East to Avalon > 1600mm (w) X 770mm (h)
Newtown > 800mm (w) X 1500mm (h)