Overview, Images

Flow

Bea Rubio-Gabriel

Preface

View Exhibition

hot pressed open air sky brewing suspended

starstrings unwind their electric light as we stand

ankle deep in tears in earth rot and leaf mush

our clapsticks striking longtime synchronous

breaths ripple and the malaluaca councils shudder

ground and water sweeping moon eyed clearness

we take our bow to mend this hallowed meeting

place seeking alluvium solutions sip underflows

and quenching the throat with song old as ice

ages erupt for the fish gods mercurial ephemera

bubbling free bodied enlivened we tread water

head above the deep green sub-heavens and bask

in our own power

Once Upon A Billabong Puddle, Luke Patterson

***

I can tell you

a great number of things about water

how we must respect the

creeks

channels

oceans

rivers

ponds

(salt)marshes

wetlands

rainfalls

swamps

mela

and the generations

upon generations of black hands that have restored and loved these waterways, systems and basins

the colony’s systems of erasure of water knowledge will not

save us.

mela (excerpt), Maya Hodge

***

hot pressed open air sky brewing suspended

starstrings unwind their electric light as we stand

ankle deep in tears in earth rot and leaf mush

our clapsticks striking longtime synchronous

breaths ripple and the malaluaca councils shudder

ground and water sweeping moon eyed clearness

we take our bow to mend this hallowed meeting

place seeking alluvium solutions sip underflows

and quenching the throat with song old as ice

ages erupt for the fish gods mercurial ephemera

bubbling free bodied enlivened we tread water

head above the deep green sub-heavens and bask

in our own power

Once Upon A Billabong Puddle, Luke Patterson

***

This Might Not Be a Poem

but maybe it will be.

Maybe everything is a poem

if it wants to be a poem

but as for me,

feet and meter seem words away

And I don’t really know what to say

So yeah, what do you do for fun? when all is said and done

But things are never just all said and done

Though i suppose everything is supposed to be for fun

Oh

Maybe not

sometimes I run

lines around sunshine before dark

stark raving madness sets in/flection ablaze

gaze upon page upon empty page of rage on this world’s stage

as greed continues to lay cruel siege upon the walls of humanity

in ways that could have just been edgy poems

if only they could have just been poems

but I guess we all deal with writer’s block in our own way

(why make art when you can make money, hey)

Hey, remember when

Things were easier

when the water would break on our waists

and the wind would dry our bellies

When the sunlight would swim through the wind

Kissing hair

Caressing faces

Remember when we would go many places

wherever the waves would take us

This Might Not Be A Poem, John Oh (Day 1)

***

This is the first week after installing the show. When I say install, I mean that we have the bones of the thing up. I wanted to write to you after we finally got our little skeleton , but I was too tired to. I was thinking about what this show means, what we’re doing here, what we want to make. I don’t know. I must’ve gotten overwhelmed. Today, I am too tired to be overwhelmed. I am simply awake enough to be painfully honest.

The curatorial labour required of this show is more enormous than usual, because the show doesn’t end after we open and get it up. Each day, I am in conversation with the artists who reside with me in the studio, and they vastly outnumber me. Combined with the writers, I am sitting at 8-to-1. This exhibition was supposed to be a marathon, but instead, it feels like a sprint.

I don’t know where to start if I were to begin talking to you about this exhibition. This show is called many things because it means many things to many different people. It is a show that begins with water, but searches for connection, trying to make kinder spaces. It is a show that speaks to the fluidity of working together. To the fluidity of the self and the body. To the cyclical natures of time. To wishing we could cross oceans to go home. To wishing we took better care of our home here.

Each day at 4pm, I paint the gallery for about an hour. Or I repaint it. I have to readdress when a new work is installed or an old one altered, and I realise it suddenly clashes with the walls around it. I thought my gestures would be bigger - moving things around, switching where the artists are currently placed - but a week later, and the roomsheet has yet to change.

Late last week, it worried me. The show wasn’t switching as much as I would like it to, and today, I realised how silly I was being. This exhibition was specifically about slowing down, moving with the current (and this includes the currents of our lives outside of this gallery) and yet here I was, expecting these grand changes and gestures from artists I had specifically told to work as slowly as they would like to.

It shows up in the documentation, though. N came in today to take photos, and he was surprised at all the changes we had made. For some reason, that was really rewarding. That at our beginnings, middles, and ends, that our growth is apparent. Maybe that’s what this show is also about: growth.

I realise I have spoken about this show in circles - I haven’t quite told you what it’s about yet. Just what we’re doing. This exhibition does move in circles, though. I’m excited, actually, at the prospect that it will never finish.

B

***

hot pressed open air sky brewing suspended

starstrings unwind their electric light as we stand

ankle deep in tears in earth rot and leaf mush

our clapsticks striking longtime synchronous

breaths ripple and the malaluaca councils shudder

ground and water sweeping moon eyed clearness

we take our bow to mend this hallowed meeting

place seeking alluvium solutions sip underflows

and quenching the throat with song old as ice

ages erupt for the fish gods mercurial ephemera

bubbling free bodied enlivened we tread water

head above the deep green sub-heavens and bask

in our own power

Once Upon A Billabong Puddle, Luke Patterson

***

hot pressed open air sky brewing suspended

star strings unwind their electric light as we stand

ankle deep in tears in earth rot and leaf mush

our clap sticks striking longtime synchronous

breaths ripple and the malaluaca councils shudder

ground and water sweeping moon eyed clearness

we take our bow to mend this hallowed meeting

place seeking alluvium solutions sip underflows

and quenching the throat with song old as ice

ages erupt for the fish gods mercurial ephemera

bubbling free bodied enlivened we tread water

head above the deep green sub-heavens and bask

in our own power

Once Upon A Billabong Puddle, Luke Patterson

***

I can tell you

a great number of things about water

how we must respect the

creeks

channels

oceans

rivers

ponds

(salt)marshes

wetlands

rainfalls

swamps

mela

and the generations

upon generations of black hands that have restored and loved these
waterways, systems and basins

the colony’s systems of erasure of water knowledge will not

save us.

mela (excerpt), Maya Hodge

***

hot pressed open air sky brewing suspended

star strings unwind their electric light as we stand

ankle deep in tears in earth rot and leaf mush

our clapsticks striking longtime synchronous

breaths ripple and the malaluaca councils shudder

ground and water sweeping moon eyed clearness

we take our bow to mend this hallowed meeting

place seeking alluvium solutions sip underflows

and quenching the throat with song old as ice

ages erupt for the fish gods mercurial ephemera

bubbling free bodied enlivened we tread water

head above the deep green sub-heavens and bask

in our own power

Once Upon A Billabong Puddle, Luke Patterson

***

This Might Not Be a Poem

but maybe it will be.

Maybe everything is a poem

if it wants to be a poem

but as for me,

feet and meter seem words away

And I don’t really know what to say

So yeah, what do you do for fun? when all is said and done

But things are never just all said and done

Though i suppose everything is supposed to be for fun

Oh

Maybe not

sometimes I run

lines around sunshine before dark

stark raving madness sets in/flection ablaze

gaze upon page upon empty page of rage on this world’s stage

as greed continues to lay cruel siege upon the walls of humanity

in ways that could have just been edgy poems

if only they could have just been poems

but I guess we all deal with writer’s block in our own way

(why make art when you can make money, hey)

Hey, remember when

Things were easier

when the water would break on our waists

and the wind would dry our bellies

When the sunlight would swim through the wind

Kissing hair

Caressing faces

Remember when we would go many places

wherever the waves would take us

This Might Not Be A Poem, John Oh (Day 1)

***

This is the first week after installing the show. When I say install, I mean that we have the bones of the thing up. I wanted to write to you after we finally got our little skeleton , but I was too tired to. I was thinking about what this show means, what we’re doing here, what we want to make. I don’t know. I must’ve gotten overwhelmed. Today, I am too tired to be overwhelmed. I am simply awake enough to be painfully honest.

The curatorial labour required of this show is more enormous than usual, because the show doesn’t end after we open and get it up. Each day, I am in conversation with the artists who reside with me in the studio, and they vastly outnumber me. Combined with the writers, I am sitting at 8-to-1. This exhibition was supposed to be a marathon, but instead, it feels like a sprint.

I don’t know where to start if I were to begin talking to you about this exhibition. This show is called many things because it means many things to many different people. It is a show that begins with water, but searches for connection, trying to make kinder spaces. It is a show that speaks to the fluidity of working together. To the fluidity of the self and the body. To the cyclical natures of time. To wishing we could cross oceans to go home. To wishing we took better care of our home here.

Each day at 4pm, I paint the gallery for about an hour. Or I repaint it. I have to readdress when a new work is installed or an old one altered, and I realise it suddenly clashes with the walls around it. I thought my gestures would be bigger - moving things around, switching where the artists are currently placed - but a week later, and the roomsheet has yet to change.

Late last week, it worried me. The show wasn’t switching as much as I would like it to, and today, I realised how silly I was being. This exhibition was specifically about slowing down, moving with the current (and this includes the currents of our lives outside of this gallery) and yet here I was, expecting these grand changes and gestures from artists I had specifically told to work as slowly as they would like to.

It shows up in the documentation, though. N came in today to take photos, and he was surprised at all the changes we had made. For some reason, that was really rewarding. That at our beginnings, middles, and ends, that our growth is apparent. Maybe that’s what this show is also about: growth.

I realise I have spoken about this show in circles - I haven’t quite told you what it’s about yet. Just what we’re doing. This exhibition does move in circles, though. I’m excited, actually, at the prospect that it will never finish.

B

***

hot pressed open air sky brewing suspended

starstrings unwind their electric light as we stand

ankle deep in tears in earth rot and leaf mush

our clapsticks striking longtime synchronous

breaths ripple and the malaluaca councils shudder

ground and water sweeping moon eyed clearness

we take our bow to mend this hallowed meeting

place seeking alluvium solutions sip underflows

and quenching the throat with song old as ice

ages erupt for the fish gods mercurial ephemera

bubbling free bodied enlivened we tread water

head above the deep green sub-heavens and bask

in our own power

Once Upon A Billabong Puddle, Luke Patterson

***

This exhibition was supposed to be about us finding new ways of working and being together. Pretty hard to do that when you’re in the midst of a pandemic and a lockdown that has your sensory deprivation up so high that you think you must be going a little bit psychotic. Time has flattened and everyone ceases to be real .


The exhibition is titled Flow and that was the only thing that held us together. Curatorially, it’s kind of amazing to watch my artists move through really similar cycles through this period, though as I write this, they have yet to meet. The initial excitement at being a part of a generative exhibition, with the space to make art about what they wanted how they wanted. Then hits the lethargy of isolation — the shared collective lull we don’t realise we have all fallen into — before resignation --maybe I can’t do this. Maybe I took on too much? Maybe I’m not ready. There are all of these. I had them, too. I feel like nothing this year really pieced together until tonight. I’m finally ready and excited to be making this space. Tonight was the key. After a call from M, I finally knew how to write you this foreward (though I will assuredly continue to write or re-write it over the next few days). I realise that I’ve been feeling unsettled because I’ve been blind. But everyone who floated off into the waves, we’ve finally been able to bring back. It’s good to be back.