A Maple Tree, a Diving-Bell, a Butterfly and Two Books

 

 

A book cover of Jenni Heckendorf's memoir Through the Years, a self portrait, her back with the title on it and the image is blurred slightly to depict her movements, a tasteful and sensuous image.

‘Through the Years’ a memoir by Jenni Heckendorf

There are two small and beautiful books in the world that are connected and I want to tell you how.

The first is The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly. After reading this slender memoir it was one of the few times I resolved to write to the author and tell them the impact it had on me. But as I handled the book reading all its background and detail I noticed that Jean-Dominique Bauby, the author, had died. I cried. I also felt the mixed and strange emotions around trying to understand and console myself about death, that Bauby may have found peace. And I was so glad he had managed to live and struggle that long and write the book.

Bauby wrote his memoir after a stroke, a stroke of the magnitude that in the past would have led very quickly to death. He survived for a while, but with Locked in Syndrome.His physicians and carers did not know his mind was right at first, that he perceived everything, that he just could not communicate, for quite some time. But eventually they did find out.

He wrote a book in his mind without the freedom many of us have to make notes, to refer back, to record and recast as we write. His was an act of memory, of practice and refining. (I can’t remember an edit I have made a few seconds after I have made the decision, so I am in awe.) He wrote with a scribe by his bed responding to an alphabet offered to him, blinking his left eyelid to indicate letters to spell out words.

His book is very worldly, he was an editor of Elle, he had many advantages in writing that book, his education, his work, his support, his connections, his culture, his medical care; but his determination and grappling with truth is compelling nonetheless. And as in much of great literature it gives the reader an idea of an experience most likely beyond their own, while we can also relate to it. It is an exquisite memoir. I regularly referred to it in lectures while teaching creative writing. Students would talk to me about it afterwards. It is a story about someone with a need to write and keep writing against great difficulties. But it is also just a story of a life.

I kept telling my friend and colleague Jenni Heckendorf (in my role as artist collaborator) as I read The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly out loud to her, this book has a twist. But I realised while reading it at her dining room/meeting table over many sessions that it didn’t really. In my earlier readings I was struck by the revelation of Bauby’s infidelity and that his wife and children stood by him after the stroke. Each re-reading of a book casts it differently. I can’t even tell you what version appeared to me as I read it to Jenni. I was anxious while reading it out loud that I stumbled over pronouncing French place names which had before  been quietly imagined by my inner reading voice. I was also desperately hoping this book connected with Jenni, that she enjoyed it, that it was worth her time. She seemed to enjoy it. We read it, for me, quite slowly. It was a pleasant Tuesday afternoon activity. Jenni kept her eye on the clock as her day is necessarily very organised. I imagine she was also keeping in touch with her energy levels.

Photo of Jenni Heckendorf today

Jenni Heckendorf (photo by Sarah St Vincent Welch)

She told me later that she thought her condition, Cerebral Palsy, the effect it has on her, is akin to Locked-In Syndrome in some ways. I love matching people with the right books. I felt chuffed. I think it showed Jenni that memoir though it contains much of a life can be short, and that there is nothing wrong with short chapters, in some ways the reader savours the words even more.

The second book is of course Jenni Heckendorf’s memoir Through the Years published this year by Ginninderra Press. Jenni wrote it with eye-gaze control technology, where a camera tracks eye movements to control a mouse on a computer screen. Through Belconnen Arts Centre (BAC) with the support of the Australia Council, Robin Davidson, Emily Beergah and I worked as artist collaborators with Jenni as editors and mentors to help bring her memoir to the next stage. Ann McMahon of BAC knew of Jenni’s memoir project through connecting with her over Jenni’s photographic work (which appears on the cover of her memoir). Jenni joined the IGNITE Creatives group co-ordinated by Ann McMahon and that is how I got involved.

So Jenni Heckendorf’s memoir is here. It is published (just before Christmas – hint hint.) Through the Years is being launched this Tuesday 3 December at Harry Hartog Bookseller at ANU 5.30pm. It is the International Day of the Disabled Person. Here is your invitation if you are in Canberra or nearby.

Professor Donna Lee Brien, Central Queensland University, writes ‘This beautifully written memoir by Jenni Heckendorf reveals a woman with firm opinions, a warm sense of family and a keen sense of her own value. She has also lived with cerebral palsy her whole life. A must-read for anyone who has ever doubted the indomitability of the human spirit.’

Jenni captures the innocence of growing up in Through the Years. She captures family and institutional life. But primarily, for me, it is a love story. It also provides a history of disability during her life from the point of view of a person living with a disability in Australia at that time.

Jenni and I are a similar age, and we both grew up in Sydney. We watched the same TV shows, played similar games, know similar places, and many of the patterns of family life of that time she so beautifully evokes I remember as well. And like Jenni I moved to Canberra and have lived a significant amount of time here. We connect. And you will too. To a life well lived.

In my mind The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly will always be entwined with Through the Years. I have seen Jenni’s Japanese Maple outside her office window that spoke to her of seasons and beauty and working beside her husband. I will imagine it while reading her  memoir again.

I think of the French man and the Australian woman connected through writing and literature and the determination of self reflection and what they have given us.

On a personal note, when I returned to the project after dissapearing from a debilitating episode of depression, Jenni, in her generosity just said to me, ‘Stuff happens.’ It meant so much. It always will.

Maple leaves

Stronger than Fiction is ‘Stronger than Strong’

Deborah Kingsland, Stronger than Fiction Director, introducing the festival (the image behind her is from ‘The Magical Life of V’)

Dendy Cinema Canberra
31 July to 18 August 2019

To borrow a line from one of my favourite anime’s theme songs (Gigantor) – the documentary film festival Stronger than Fiction is ‘stronger than strong’ this year. Canberra is home to a cinematic treasure – ‘Stronger than Fiction’ and has been since the Canberra Centenary in 2013. This year is its sixth. I have been to three festivals, and last year attended all the screenings, as I will this year. I am now a shameless groupie.

I can attest to its power. Beware. Last year after viewing ‘The Island of the Hungry Ghosts’ I could no longer just grieve and anger in my heart and mind about offshore detention of refugees that arrive by boat in Australia. Watching the trauma counsellor on that island explain to her young daughter about her clients (the people detained), the images of sand play in her clients’ therapy that reflect their trauma, and the migration of the crabs across Christmas Island (for which all the humans stop) that seems to echo the great human migration of our times, to the rituals for the hungry ghosts of Chinese labourers who never received a proper burial, so moved me that I had to act. It galvanised all my thought and feelings and reading about this dilemma to finally act. But that is another story.

The Co-Director, Hannah de Feyter, describes the curatorial approach of Stronger Than Fiction as having no brief but excellence, but themes and tendencies do tend to emerge each year. This year the festival depicts a number of strong older women, like Hatidze the beekeeper in Honeyland, Lea Tsemel human rights lawyer in Advocate, and photojournalist Letizia Battaglia in Shooting The Mafia. The environment, the value of persistence, and how we engage with the internet are themes that have also emerged. More than half of the films are directed by women (something I like).

A feature of Stronger Than Fiction is question and answer sessions with directors and the audience. This year In My Blood it Runs’ Maya Newell (and producer Larrissa Berendht) and Midnight Family’s Luke Loren will attend and audiences can quiz them with all those questions one has straight after viewing a doco. These sessions are riveting for film lovers. Another aspect of this festival is the audience vote, which I always find a little bit difficult because I want to rate all the films as number 1. The ten top films will have encore screenings over the two weekends following the festival.

In the festival preview we viewed Sea of Shadows and were immersed in the cradle of acquatic life that is the Sea of Cortez. This film is billed as an eco-thriller, and it really is. It follows a journalist researching the illegal fishing and trade in the swim bladder of the totoaba fish, ‘the cocaine of the sea’, which is so valuable that the trade involves the underworld of Mexican cartels, the government trying to control it, and scientists and conservation activists trying to protect the sea creatures, and the exploited locals being driven into debt. It is life or death for the fisher people, the journos, the endangered porpoise the vacquita, and the crews of the Sea Shepherd. The film unravels a net as complex and deadly as the illegal nets tangled through the Sea of Cortez.

I will leave you with a link to the program and trailers, and I may see some of you lucky Canberrans there. For others, watch out for these film when they are released down the track; Stronger Than Fiction always gets it right.

https://strongerdocs.com/#/2019-program/

 

 

 

 

 

 

My City of Sydney – an invitation to a launch ‘OPEN’ and ‘thinking process’

When I took to watching late night TV in the 70s and 80s the broadcast would end at midnight with the song My City of Sydney and I remember the colour chart staring back at me from my parents TV (it was a solid box with a drawer underneath that contained a turntable – broken – by me playing with it many years earlier.) I felt I was leading the bohemian life being up so late, watching Debbie Reynolds and Jimmy Stewart in black and white on Bill Collins’ Golden Years of Hollywood. Sydney is still my city in many ways. Though the city centre changed physically very quickly soon after I left in the 80s, with Darling Harbour and the closing of main streets for pedestrians, it is the childhood city of my heart still, and many aspects of it are unchanging.

 

The water, the earth and stone, some places, and the friends and family I visit are like a continuing song (a bit better than My City of Sydney) inside my body and mind that rises up when I am here (there). Now I can eat Iraqi food in Auburn and catch a glimpse of people smoking bright green hookas on the footpath. Eastwood shops is abuzz with market garden veggie stalls and the pick of Asian cuisine. In the 70s and 80s it was Lebanese food in Surry Hills and Italian in Leichardt for me.

Sydney Uni from The Quadrangle with Rainbow Flag, it is Mardi Gras weekend

From the graffiti tunnel at Sydney uni – it was a tad more political in my day – but it was still fun

I am so honoured to be launching my first book of all my own work, a poetry chapbook called OPEN (Rochford Press) with Anna Couani’s thinking process (Owl Publishing) in The Shop Gallery (Anna and Hilik’s gallery) next Sunday 2pm March 10 at 112 Glebe Pt Rd Glebe (I used to live in Bridge St when I was at uni and worked at Sydney College of the Arts down the road in Personnel as a clerical assistant.) (I visited Anna on the way home from work, to home in Ashfield, the highlight of my day).  If you are in Sydney next weekend please join us and celebrate.

owlbooks@bigpond.com

Open by Sarah St Vincent Welch

The Wedding Dress – Humans of Parramatta Road

The Wedding Dress

Today I am heading up the highway (past Lake George/Weerreewa,) through the Southern Highlands, to Sydney, and along Parramatta Rd. It is such a familiar place, but also astonishing in its life and noise. I live in a city where we joke about our traffic peak minute that arrives somewhere around 8.30am. It is all about contrast and memories for me.

I lived in Glebe when I was a student. Went to Sydney Uni. Lived in Camperdown and Ashfield a little later. I have set a novel in Summer Hill. Hung round in Leichardt and  Annandale. All these inner city suburbs cluster around Parramatta Road. I visit Sydney often, my family and many dear friends are there. I am going to a book launch today, The End of the Line Poems by Rae Desmond Jones, published by Rochford Press (formerly Rochford St Press).

The Marco Polo roof

The Marco Polo on Parramatta Road by night, including fake lawn and little fountain

I recall a time in 2016 when I was visiting my Mum in hospital in Sydney. It was around my birthday. My husband was taking a short course in lighting at AFTRS. I was aware of a callout for a project by Spineless Wonders for their Little Fictions series. We were staying in the Marco Polo Hotel, one of the cheapest hotels we could find. Aeroplanes rumbled overhead, the lights of cars streamed by as we leaned over the edge of the roof one night. A fellow guest sang loudly all into the early morning  on our last night there. After many hours and at about 4am the management kindly asked him to sit outside. He was trying to stay awake so he wouldn’t miss an early plane apparently. 

During that time I became aware of the wedding dress shops in Leichardt on Parramatta Road, the cluster of hope and glamour, in the grind and bump of the busy streetscape. I glimpsed them from the bus. Lingered as I walked past. Took photos. I wrote a piece for Little Fictions that was later performed at the Knox St Bar in Chippendale by Joel Douglas.

Here it is.

 

 

 

 

The Wedding Dress

When the shop door opens I hear the sea. The rumble of the waves rises to the sky. The sea must be close by. I dream of it. I wake to the sound of its swell, rising with the day. The beams of a lighthouse sweep across the floor at night.

The brides-to-be, the mothers-of-the bride, the bridesmaids, glide in with smiles and acumen, with flourishes and secrets. They know their measurements. I swim in their expectation, hope for their attention, their touch, to lead me to my day. 

I have heard whispers of a harbour, a bridge of fireworks, of gliding ferries and an Opera House with white sails. Is it a ship? Will I sail on it?  Will I clasp my bride, enfold her as we waltz, dance in the spray? I glimpse the blue of the sky through the shop window. I am white like the summer clouds, organza edged.

I wait for my day like a butterfly. My tulle is a wing. It flutters as she walks past, brushing my skirt, and she pauses before me. The groom waits outside, smoking. Ash falls on the pavement, sparks scatter.

She touches my bodice. Lifts me to the mirror and presses me to her heart, smooths me down, fluffs me out. She tries me on. Steps out of her shoes, unzips. I slip and rustle and slide and hold her tight. She adjusts herself into me. We look at ourselves in the mirror. Unsure.

The bridesmaid runs to the door. Shoo! Shoo! The groom strides off. Crosses the road. The bride-to-be wants to see us in the sun. Our wedding will be outdoors. Out west. By a river.

We stumble out the door. The waves crash around us. Parramatta Road surges, rolls. I am cream as pearl, as bright as molten gold. Whipped in the wind. I will fly. A truck blares its horn.

The Humans of Parramatta Road performance night was wonderful, and I experienced it with dear friends. Bronwyn Mehan is a publishing  genius.

Me with my then long black hair, and Anna Couani

Working the room (or finding the bar?) I can see Melissa Neidorf, Sara Dowse, Margaret Barbalet in this one, and is that Al and Marjo up the back?

Welch – reserved as ever

Joel Douglas and his wonderful performance

Tired but happy, with Joel

Ursula Dubosarsky and Anna

Sophia Platthy, Melissa and me

Humans of Parramatta Road  is now on a podcast. You can hear Joel’s resonant performance and all the other wonderful actors and stories. A casting coup, a male voice for a female subject for the The Wedding dress, I believe (thank you Bronwyn). Rozanna Lilley shared her incredible Parramatta Road project with me recently, check it out!  https://flic.kr/s/aHskroy4CS

What will I find near Parramatta Road this time? I will tell you soon.

(Thanks to Dylan Jones for the beautiful photos of the event.)

 

 

Learning to hang an art exhibition: POSTCARDS FROM THE SKY

 

Lizz Murphy launching POSTCARDS FROM THE SKY Hazel Hall, Jenni Kemarre Martiniello, Kathy Kituai, Sarah St Vincent Welch, Akka Constantine Bellinger and Clare Martin, and Jenni’s Kungkarungkara: Big Sister,  Music of the Spheres and Clare’s Tnorala/Gosses Buff

 

The beautiful crowd who turned up for this launch and that of Gaia Hypothesis

One of the dreams of my life has been to assist in hanging an art exhibition, and that dream was realised this last week at Belconnen Art Centre in Canberra, with the exhibition Postcards from the Sky. I have two pieces in it. As a writer and image maker, I am often working away creating, selecting and arranging words and images, but I have never exhibited visual work in this traditional context and never expected to.

Artwork arriving and being laid out, Clare Martin, Jenni Kemarre Martiniello and Akka Constantine Bellinger

I worked in Film Preservation for ten years at the National Film and Sound Archive, with physical film, mainly pre-1951, so I have a love and affinity for handling precious objects (and also honour their strength, fragility and physical qualities). I also get off on counting things, checking things, placing things, naming and numbering things, and caring for objects.

I have been fascinated by collections since childhood. (What makes a collection, what is left in and what is left out?) I loved natural museums as a child. And as an adult an art exhibition is great fun, is often moving, surprising, and an exhibition opening is a wonderful celebration. An art exhibition is a sort of collection to me, a special place and time that has been curated.

I often say I grew up in a house that was like a museum, my mother the curator of  objects collected by relatives who may have been borderline hoarders. She inherited the treasures of a father-in-law who died in the Spanish Flu pandemic just after World War 1, who had brought back from his time  in Egypt, Gallipoli and France, hundreds of objects. (Our door stoppers were shell casings, and we had cannon balls in the garage.) Some objects ended up in the Australian War Memorial, ( a collection of signs from the trenches and weapons and more) and recently the Nicholson Museum at the University of Sydney accepted a collection of Egyptian artefacts that we stored in a cabinet on top of a cupboard. It wasn’t opened for a hundred years. As children we were warned off it, though on occasion I climbed up and tried to peer into the darkness of the coffin-like cabinet. I could just see tiny amulets and statues. We were told there was a cat mummy in there. Poor Mum, we discovered also that her mother-in-law lived near a clearing house and her favourite pastime was to peruse the catalogues and warehouses for ‘finds,’ and Mum had those things to care for as well.

Akka’s concertina book ‘Colours of my skies’ and Lizz’s I am The Way of the White Cow laid out in place ready to be hung

So from such origins my relationship with things, with objects and collections developed, and the dream of helping hang an art exhibition arose. Now, I can’t claim too much. I held measuring tape. I stood with my arms above my head holding unframed paper against a wall, I sorted and handed pins, I held hammers. Lizz Murphy (powerhouse facilitator behind the living studio and exhibition that developed so quickly from it) and I thinking we knew what we were doing, measured up my piece As Above, So Below 1 – Where Are You? got it skewiff and I marked the wall. There we were with gumption scrubbing the wall, our hands way over our heads, a wee bit ageing, me at least feeling my aches. Ann McMahon let us have our way, then glided in after we cleaned up our mess, and kindly showed us how it worked. I love to learn.

Ann McMahon, and Melinda Smith’s ‘Orion as a Woman Unhelped by White Ribbon’, ‘Storm Sky Story’ and ‘Euridyce’s Last Sky’ and Michele Elliot and Lizz Murphy’s ‘Skylines’ laid out in the background

Ann on the go, with Kathy Kituai’s ‘All That Blue’ laid out in the background

Lizz cleaning up my mess, she has a habit of doing that 🙂 My As Above, So Below 2 In the bottom drawer is a star, everywhere – memories

It was a group effort of the artists in the exhibition, but the main people hanging the show were of course the staff of Belconnen Arts Centre, especially Ann McMahon, Dianne Libbke, Damien Hicks, and Skye Rutherford, overseen by co-CEO and Artistic Director Monika McInerney. We were overwhelmed at the generosity of being given the whole foyer for a start, the glorious space by Lake Ginninderra, with the views and light, and the interest of the construction site next door beginning the extension. To experience the space transforming into an exhibition was a gift.

Akka Constantin Bellinger and I unpacked the art that arrived during the first days and laid them out on tables. I observed Jenni Kemarre Martiniello’s keen visual and storytelling sense as she devised the layout of the exhibition, the eyelines, how pieces might talk to each other, and Ann, Damien, and Skye brought their own aesthetics and knowledge to the process, and also how to interpret Monika’s vision. ‘Clean eyelines are important.’ ‘Monika likes grids.’ But there was no rigidity, ideas were tested. We were all honoured and our work treated as precious expressions.

I love the physical cooperation of doing a task with another person or people. It is unusual to stand so close to a stranger arms above your head on tip toe in the summer heat, for me, usually a keyboard sort of worker these days. I love taking the physical instruction of another, ‘hold your hand this way then slide it down, I will do this, then you do that.’ The process. Lizz related Ann’s knowledge of knots and her clear instructions (a skill begun with fishing with her father), to hang mobiles. I love knots myself, from Girl Guide days, making gadgets out of sticks, instructed by my mother. And there is conversation. Wonderful conversation about art, family, observations, work, and laughter.

Thanks Di!

Also there is cleaning (cleaning is life is it not?) Kindness. Politeness. Care. Even emotion in all our body’s heat and fatigue. Everyone turning up. And turning up. As they could. Helping each other.

Moni co-CEO Artistic Director welcoming all to the launch of POSTCARDS and Gaia Hypothesis

Can I volunteer, Moni?

Postcards from the Sky Belconnen Arts Centre Foyer February 8-March 17 2019. Exhibition of words and images (new work and works in progress) by 10 artists and poets with an ongoing living studio.

I will be writing more soon about the experience of the Living Studio that developed this exhibition.

Jenni and Clare talking about installing Tnorala/Gosses Bluff

Evangeline

 

Three women in red arms raised in similar pose - screaming

An encounter with ‘Evangeline,’ the theatre art performance at Canberra Theatre Studio Courtyard, 3 December 2015

Evangeline (or, the grief that does not speak whispers the o’erfraught heart, and bids it break)

never did I ask if you were you

were one

then
as you are many as you are

many
many, a
room full of
people watching each other
listening
moving

underneath

in front

griefs of the body, bodies,
writhing (my shame)
split
twitch twitchy tic tic tic
hot leaky, of this

after we asked
after we asked
if you were one, again,
it was a way to understand
yes –
her fluid arms the past
decisions
of a dance, dances, dancers
anger and pain right upfront
upstage
who knew what?

how to stand with this
how to be with you
how to touch
how to respond
how to leave you
as one
as two
as us
as many

A smoky room, gulping a dacquiri, tongue wrenched with lemon, I waited and relaxed and chatted and listened to the music in the Canberra Theatre Centre Studio Courtyard, (train – oh oh oh train – I remember, I remember, take me b –ack, take me– back) knowing I was in Chenoeh Miller’s Theatre of Love, a place I didn’t entirely know I was entering until I was there, it was so familiar. I will just leave the images I took and my poem at the beginning of this post, to evoke the experience. And to also say, never miss Miller’s work, try to get there. I also wanted to honour the artists Peta Ward, Alicia Jones, Erica Field and Ruby Rowat, whose extraordinary performances of intense physicality joined with the audience in ways I have only experienced in Little Dove Theatre.

Smoky dark coloured lights room with female performer very close to audience

We sat for an hour with the performers before the ‘beginning’ of the show, talking, drinking, watching, as they moved, and we were joined in the space.

So close

So close

We are together, however hard that might be

We are together, however hard that might be

After Evangeline I realised my own grief has stirred, surprised, I carry it in me calling it something else, as it pops out like a small disturbed snarly animal, but it is calming down, healing a little, getting used to its new name. Time. Love and kindness. Being with. And expressions and experiences like Evangeline, help.

Evangeline was on for three nights. In my opinion, so far, reviews have reflected what I experienced and I am linking them here so you if you missed out you can feel a little connected, and watch out for Miller’s next production. I never want to miss a Little Dove Theatre Art performance since I saw ‘From this.

PULSE: reflections on the body

Pulse

 

he finds my pulse, pulse—

milk squirts—our—blood—drum—strum—his—

small hand— on my throat

I have a rather rapid heart rate and pulse rate that is most likely encouraged by high levels of caffeine. I found it embarrassing when I was at school when such things were measured in Sport and Science. (But then I think I found nearly everything at school embarrassing.) And I have caught myself wondering over that esoteric observation that everyone is allotted a certain number of heartbeats in this life; that this is predetermined. In my case, this is not comforting, I have been using mine up quite quickly.

a chalk drawing of a dalek saying recaffeinate outside a cafe

Always. And always with Dr Who reference. Thank you, Lonsdale St Roasters.

I went to the opening of an exhibition PULSE: reflections on the body last week at Canberra Museum and Gallery. I highly recommend it. Twenty-seven contemporary Australian artists are represented, and the public program involves performances, floor talks, and a seminar, and as you know I am jumping in by facilitating a writers workshop – Writing on the body on November 15, 12-5pm at CMAG. We will have some time to view the exhibition, and I will guide writers through exercises and games to respond to the exhibition and to discover and refine writing with/in/about/out of the body. I hope this will be the first of a series of guided writing workshops in response to exhibitions and collections at CMAG and around Canberra. Let’s see how this first one goes.

Write with a sense of the body. I have often offered this advice over my many years of creative writing teaching. This is not just about physical descriptions like hair colour or length or style, eye colour, height, or shape of your characters, but how they actually feel (or even not feel) in their bodies. The body is something we can all relate to, whatever our gender, culture, race, or other cultural definitions that accompany us, and if it is left out in crafting fiction or even poetry, something vital is most likely missing. I often find that this one piece of advice will lift a piece of writing to a new level, and often solve a number of other problems as well.

PULSE: Reflections on the body, is so rich, so stimulating, and so accessible. I really can’t do it justice in a little blog post. But I will engage with the exhibition in this space over the next weeks and invite anyone in town, nearby or passing through, to join my workshop, and more importantly, just go along and enjoy the exhibition. For the workshop book through the ACT Writers Centre, 02 6262 9191 or online https://app.formassembly.com/forms/view/10261

My haiku at the beginning of this post was inspired by Patricia Piccinini’s To fall under gravity, which I wondered over at the opening. This is the artist of Skywhale fame, and dear to many Canberrans’ hearts. In my first encounter with To fall under gravity it seems to me to be a series of floating nipples (or pimples) or they could even be air bubbles. They could be female or male nipples, and they are unassuming but also erotic, and quite plain, just ‘there’. Everyone I watched viewing it smiled, and some (like me) shoved their hands deeper in their pockets, resisting the urge to touch them. This exhibition actually affects your body. Of course it does. Can’t wait to be over this flu and cold (sniff)  and to get back to CMAG and Pulse. (I didn’t get the germ there, don’t worry! I got it at a dance class, or from my mum.)

ecard for Writing on the Body