The "Emu in the Sky" engraving, as seen from Elvina Track, Kuringai Chase National Park, north of Sydney.  Image by Barnaby Norris

The "Emu in the Sky" engraving, as seen from Elvina Track, Kuringai Chase National Park, north of Sydney.  Image by Barnaby Norris

Star Picket

Star-Picket is a multi-form arts project recently funded by the Regional Arts Fund NSW,  created by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists in a cross cultural collaboration, investigating sky stories and mapping from the central west NSW, leading to interpretations of seasonal farming practices, and travel pathways based on this knowledge. 

Creative producers Aleisha Lonsdale - Arts Out West and Phoebe Cowdery - the CORRIDOR project, have both previously collaborated together, engaging a group of artists from both NSW and Cape York, on the COOL BURN exhibition in 2015-2016. COOL BURN was the first in a series of exhibitions documenting traditional knowledge and practices though a contemporary lens involving land art, soundscape, video, installation, painting, sculpture, photography, printing and assemblage, exhibited to the community in a remote regional location. 

Star-picket is inspired by the astronomical translations of the night sky in relation to seasonal land management activity and physical pathways, through oral histories by Indigenous Traditional Owners and Elders in both the Central West NSW, and Lake Mungo NSW. Artists intend to investigate these aspects in a series of workshops and field trips located in the Central West - NSW and Lake Mungo - NSW. 

Interpretations of sky stories will be discussed,  and the relationship to land pathways, and farming practices with relativity to flora+ fauna and travel routes. The artists will disseminate this information in their studios with a exhibition programmed for 2018. 

Research and workshops will be presented by Trevor Leman PhD Researcher, Wiradjuri Cultural Astronomy Project, University of New South Wales, School of Humanities & Languages and Larry Towney - Senior Lands officer Central Tablelands Local Land Services, NSW. Further information: theconversation.com/how-ancient-aboriginal-star-maps-have-shaped-australias- highway-network

Consultation with the artists, curators, scientists and traditional knowledge holders will be documented throughout the process prior and post field trips. All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocols will be managed by Aleshia Lonsdale - Arts Out West, NSW and Larry Towney - Senior Lands officer Central Tablelands Local Land Services, NSW. 

Star-picket is a continuum of artistic development at the CORRIDOR project, working with Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists and related professionals on a cultural connections program developed in 2013 in conjunction with the Greater Eastern Ranges, Kanangra Boyd to Wyangala initiative. Workshops and exhibitions to date included in this program are River dreaming 2013, Traditional fire management 2013, Media and film training 2015, Cowra corroboree 2015, Cowra corroboree schools day, Orange Weavers 2016, Traditional dance 2016 facilitated by Di Nicholls Old Mapoon, and the COOL BURN exhibition 2016.

On February 18th-19th - 2017  Virginia Hilyard  from Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) the University of Sydney, and Trevor Lehman - UNSW held professional development workshops in field recording and Wiradjuri astronomy located at the CORRIDOR project. The invaluable knowledge acquired by the artists has led to new experimentation within their artistic practice and professional development. We would like to acknowledge the presentations by Virginia and Trevor and support from Regional Arts NSW,  and Sydney College of the Arts (SCA), the University of Sydney for the loan of equipment to artists attending the Soundscape workshops.

Artists responses Field recordings and Astronomy workshops

"the CORRIDOR project presented a well coordinated workshop that linked the rigor of Trevor Leaman’s “Spiritual Landscapes & Aboriginal Stellar Navigation”, with Virginia Hilyard’s introduction to the evocative potential of environmental sound recording as an artistic medium.

Using digital stereo recording equipment supplied by SCA, we explored the infinite world of sound waves that are produced by such mundane sources as fence wires, wind and water.

Mindful of this infinite world, we visited the ancient light and timeless culture of Aboriginal cosmology, in Trevor Leaman’s fascinating presentation. In a previous discussion, recorded waves on a shoreline was mentioned. This reminded me of how such wavelets are echoes of distant storms, and how this relates to how we perceive and interpret galactic phenomena.

The star picket project examines the edges of an observable and audible greater reality." Bill Moseley 2017

"Searching and capturing the invisible energy of sound, and using the recordings to communicate emotion was totally new to me.  As a photographer, I communicate with images, so exploring the landscape, searching for detail I could not see was surprisingly powerful.  This was an extremely well co ordinated productive workshop". Vicki Skarratt

"I went there not knowing what to expect but it awakened in me an awareness to the sound around me. I have always loved the sound of silence that is not silence.....it is a peace made up from different sounds.....birds quietly communing with each other....wind gently moving leaves and the tune that they play in this movement.  This knowing was reawakened on Saturday listening with the microphone's ears, experiencing the sound of our footsteps on dry leaves, the wind through a wire fence, the movement of air through dry grasses. I was at one with sound.  I used to do this without a microphone....I will do it again and bring the awareness back to the me that used to be me" Nyree Reynolds

"Growing up in this area and returning many years later I can appreciate fully the impact of meeting and engaging with such a diverse group of people who bring knowledge and creativity to this area.  I was honoured to meet this rich group of independent self reliant practitioners. What a great bunch of people. 

Our exploration of sound in the environment with Virginia was intense in its focus and extraordinary in its results.  Learning the skills associated with using line recorders was an addictive experience, opening up so many possibilities for me. The micro sound scape and the macro soundscape are now new frontiers in my art and yoga practice. 

Trevors presentation on Wiradjuri cosmology and navigation just blew me away with its innovative and inclusive approach to the local indigenous way of seeing and knowing. I will never look at the sky and the landscape in the same way again. This is life changing stuff.

Each time either academic or visual research pieces together knowledge from the Australian indigenous world, and especially from the this area, and chooses to share it, I feel my connection to the landscape and life of this valley is strengthened. Being aware of such research and having it as a background and support in investigating and engaging with the landscape is so enriching. I feel nourished as an artist after this weekend." Ken Hutchinson

SONIC NATURE OF THE WIND – FIELD RECORDING WORKSHOP INTRODUCES UNIQUE ARTISTIC MEDIUM TO REGIONAL ARTISTS

Images courtesy Vicki Skarratt, Lee Wynyard and Phoebe Cowdery