Thanks to the J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice, I was invited to participate in a residency program in the Flinders Ranges in July 2018. Far from the coastal comforts of Deep Creek, the Flinders Ranges had been etching itself in my mind for the last seven years, ever since I did a Native American vision quest to challenge some troubled memories. The Flinders was a gift then, and having done another recently, it continues to be. It is a place with a large personality and some of the oldest geologic remnants on the planet, carbon dated at over a billion years old. The local Adnyamathanha honour this in some respect as their name, which embraces the collection of language groups of the region, roughly translates to rock people.
Western thinking considers rock to be devoid of life, inanimate, inert, more so a bed for the life that crawls or flies across it. Worth stating the Adnyamanthanha don’t hold this view and rather ironically, as dead as Westerners like to consider it, the tectonic plates that suspend our way of life are in constant movement, a synergetic dance between molten rock below and the solid rock above. Perhaps, like the many advocates working in anthropological and biologic circles are suggesting, the current definition of life could do with an overhaul.
A large part of the work i’ve been doing for the last 6 years embraces the idea that country (ex human interpretation) stores, manifests and expresses more stories of relationship and is more sympoietic than humans could possibly contemplate. The above is a recent example. Found in a creek bed at Orantunga Station, this work seems to me at least, a story of colonisation with all the players accounted for, and in balance with the acts that inevitably ensued. Accepting some of these markings are likely older than European occupation, one has to ask, did it know we were coming.