Category Archives: Travel

Australia Day On The Beach

Today, 26th January 2015, is Australia Day. For those who don’t know much about this historic and controversial day, read Wikipedia’a entry about it here.

For most Australians, this day means taking the family on a picnic, or firing up the BBQ by the pool at home and inviting friends and family over. It’s perhaps a little unfortunate that this day always falls during the school holidays, so there are no school excursions to historical monuments or patriotic events to commemorate the event.

Today also sees the making of thousands of new Australian citizens, at ceremonies in state capitals across the country. You can of course become a citizen at other times during the year, but many new citizens like the idea of becoming Australians on Australia Day itself.

While it’s all and good that most Aussies are taking advantage of the day (especially this year, when it falls on a Monday, and therefore makes a long weekend) by revelry, drinking and general merrymaking, we need to remember also that today is also considered by many to be a Day of Mourning.

The Indigenous People of Australia call this day “Invasion Day”, as, give or take a few weeks’ discrepancy in dates, this is the day in 1788 that the British first landed on their Aboriginal homeland and, without so much as a “Do you mind?”, invaded and took over their country in the name of the King.

Much has been written about the English invasion of Australia, which bears great similarities to what they did to the Native Americans of America. Today, some Australians are acutely aware of the injustice dealt to the original inhabitants of Australia, and the Government even has a specific term for their policy to make amends. It’s called “The Reconciliation”. You can read more about it here.

Today, The Kid and I cycled down to the Rockingham foreshore to see how the Australia Day revelry was going. The Kid wanted to go on the bumper cars ride, and I needed doughnuts ahem! photos for this blog.

So, here are said photos.

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image(Troll’d pony LOL)

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image (It was so warm, even the seagulls were out swimming)

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imageET was an Australian for the day.

Art Abandonment : Rockingham Part II

So, yesterday The Kid and I went to the Rockingham foreshore and surreptitiously left some book and card packages around for people to find.

What we hadn’t counted on was that this was the long weekend of Australia Day (26th January), and, it being Summer, the foreshore would be FULL of people. It’s a popular destination for families, there are free BBQ stations dotted around the grassy park, and toilet facilities, cafés, bistros, fast food outlets, ice cream parlours, souvenir shops etc.

It was hard trying to blend into the crowd and not call attention to ourselves, pushing our bicycles through the park and leaving packages in the crooks of trees, on park benches and under public sculptures. But we did it, and celebrated afterwards with an ice cream (a Coke float or “Spider” for me) at Baskin Robbins.

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These Maori guys found the one we left on the bench behind where they were picnicking. It’s great to see people’s faces lighting up when they find out they’ve just found a free gift. Makes MY day! Actually, I think this is one with a deck of Lenormand cards attached, so they’d have had 2 pressies for their wife/girlfriend for Australia Day.

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Here’s one we left under a dolphin sculpture at the entrance of the foreshore.

I didn’t get to photograph all the drop-offs. Although most people were oblivious to our activities, there were others who looked at us curiously. (It’s very hard to be inconspicuous when you’re pushing 2 bicycles through a park and trying to avoid running over people on the grass!). The Kid said to me a couple of times “Just Drop and Run, Mum!” And so we did. Can’t help being shy!

I was glad I was able to tweak those Lenormand cards with the uneven borders. There was no way I could’ve sold them the way they were, or even after my “borderectomy” on them. So, by giving them away instead, I hope someone else gets to enjoy them for free. Hmmm…I think I’ll get some large sized cards printed next, with inspirational sayings on them, and maybe do an Easter Art Abandonment on the Rockingham Foreshore. Yes!

Art Abandonment : Rockingham Part I

Okay, this is not strictly the abandonment of Art. My 2 printers are currently in hibernation…oh alright, they’re both being perfectly beastly and won’t print true colours but rather just reds and blues. And there’s nothing wrong with the ink cartridges or nozzles, I’ve checked. I was going to print off some of my artwork, to abandon on our foreshore, but I can’t now, as I really don’t specialise in just reds and blues.

So, instead, I’ve decided to recycle some inspirational books that I’d previously bought from our local thrift stores. Someone else can benefit from reading them now. And who knows, it just might brighten up someone’s day, to find a nice little gift on a park bench.

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I just decided to wrap each book up in brown paper, stick on an Art Abandonment label, tie it up with some twine, and Bob’s your uncle. Yes, alright, I ran out of twine halfway. ;)

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I posted about this on Facebook’s Art Abandonment page. Got quite a lot of interest and encouraging comments too. Then, as is usually the case, someone, a Mod from the Group, I think, pointed out that if I wasn’t Abandoning Art but rather books, my post would have to be removed from their wall.

I didn’t reply to that comment, as it was past midnight by then and I needed my beauty sleep. But just before I drifted off, it occurred to me that I could add some of my Lenormand cards to the packages, and that would count as Art, for the sake of conforming to the group’s requirements. I have a couple of decks where the printer’s cutter did not align properly and left uneven borders. I would perform a “borderectomy” on those cards first thing in the morning, and include them with the books.

That would then be Art Abandonment AND Random Acts of Kindness.

However, when I woke up this morning, my post had already been removed by the Mod of the group. Without even waiting for my response grrr. Maybe they’re in America and didn’t realise the vast time difference between Australia and their country?

No worries, I’ll just do the borderectomy, include the cards with my packages, take more photos, then re-post to the Art Abandonment group page.

Commencing Borderectomy…

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Ready to rock-n-roll! Tomorrow The Kid and I will cycle down to the Rockingham foreshore and leave these babies here and there, for people to find.

Westmoore Fine Gifts & Homewares Part I

Today’s post is about one of my favourite shops in Rockingham, Western Australia. It’s called Westmoore, and it’s on the Rockingham foreshore, nestled amongst some boutiques, a real estate agent and a Baskin Robbins ice cream parlour.

Westmoore does not have a website presence, unfortunately, however you can find them on Facebook. And here’s some information about their opening hours, location, phone number etc.

http://infoplaces.net/info/Westmoore-Fine-Gifts-and-Homeware-in-Rockingham

I like to cycle to the foreshore with The Kid. For the exercise, of course…but more for a jaunt to Westmoore to treat my eyes with visions of their fabulous wares. And for ice cream, but of course ;).

So, without further ado, here’s that eye candy I promised you all. This is window shopping at its finest. (You may wonder why I don’t just buy some of these delectable items for my own home. The reason is I don’t have much money, and also, I figure why spend money on just 1 or 2 pretty things, for them to clutter up my house and gather dust, when I could have them ALL sitting pretty at Westmoore, for me and others to enjoy any time we want. For free. Clever, huh ;)).

(Okay, I’m doing this in 2 parts as there are soooo many delicious photos I want to share with you all, and it takes ages to upload them!)

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Australian Aboriginal Artists : Tarisse and Sarrita King

Tarisse and Sarrita King are sisters, Tarisse was born in 1986, Sarrita in 1988. Their father was a prominent Aboriginal artist himself, William King Jungala(1966-2007).

On Tarisse King: (from Kate Owen‘s Gallery site):

Tarisse is a daughter of well-known artist, William King Jungala. An urban Aboriginal artist, she was born on September 4th 1986 in Adelaide. She moved to Darwin to live with her mother at the age of nine, but returned to Adelaide in 2003 to pursue a career in hospitality. However, living with her father she was exposed to art and her engagement with it grew. She began painting her father’s stories including his five elements, earth images and other designs, which she learned and inherited from William, and as her involvement grew she began experimenting with her own techniques and designs.

Following her father’s passing in 2007, she continues to spend much of her time in the studio, alongside her sister Sarrita, who is also an emerging artist carrying their father’s legacy.

I found Sarrita King’s Facebook page, where she provides details about her life, what inspires her to create Aboriginal Art, and a list of exhibitions. Here’s an excerpt from her profile page:

Sarrita King was born in Adelaide, South Australia on the 5th March 1988. She is the younger sister to fellow artist, Tarisse King and daughter to the late highly regarded artist, William King Jungala (1966 – 2007).

Sarrita inherits her Australian Aboriginality from her father who was part of the Gurindji tribe from the Northern Territory. The Gurindji tribe came to public attention during the 1960s and 1970s when members employed by the Wave Hill cattle station led a landmark case which became the first successful land rights claim in Australia. It is this same strong sense of self and pride that Sarrita embodies and it fuels her drive to paint her totemic landscape.

Sarrita spent most of her youth growing up in Darwin in the Northern Territory. Not far from where her ancestors inhabited, it is here that her connection to her Aboriginality and subsequently the land was able to grow. Her exposure to the imperious weather and extreme landscape has provided the theme for her works of art, since she began painting at age 16. Rolling sand hills, cracking lightning and thunderstorms, torrential rain, fire, desert and tangled bush are all scathing environmental factors that shaped her forefather’s lives and also her own. Depicting these elements in her paintings, Sarrita provides a visual articulation of the earth’s language.

Stylistically, Sarrita utilises traditional Aboriginal techniques such as ‘dotting’ but also incorporates unorthodox techniques inherited from her late father, as well as self-developed practices. Her art is a fusion of the past, present and future and represents the next generation of artists who have been influenced by both their indigenous history, and current Western upbringing. Sarrita creates frenetic energy on the canvas with her Lightning series and searing heat with her Fire series. Her aesthetic has a universal appeal and provides an entry point for people to experience the power and uniqueness of the Australian landscape and its harsh climate. On a world scale, her depictions couldn’t be more seasonable and well-timed.

Sarrita now paints in Adelaide in a shared studio with her sister. She has been included in over 20 exhibitions, is represented in galleries in every Australian state, included in many high profile Australian and international art collections and been auctioned several times successfully through Paris’ Art Curial Auction house.
Sarrita is currently taking a hiatus from her Bachelor of Journalism at the University of South Australia to pursue her interest in digital media, specifically documentary making and focus on her art. Only at the age of 22, Sarrita King has many personal achievements but it is her desire to visually communicate her inspiration, the land, which keeps her ancestral narrative alive and provides a new way of looking back while looking forward.

I believe the information on both sisters may be out of date. Tarisse’s Facebook page indicates she is currently living in New Zealand. Whatever the case may be, the King sisters continue to collaborate on projects, as well as painting in their own distinctive styles.

Here are some examples of Tarisse King’s work: (Google Images)

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Here are some examples of Sarrita King’s work: (Google Images)

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Zipline Bucketlist

I just watched a video of a guy ziplining through the trees and over rivers. OMG. What an exhilarating ride, and how dangerous it all seems – no helmet, no protective clothing, just some clips and straps holding him horizontally parallel to the cable, and a postage stamp sized parachute behind him as he hurtles at up to 100kmh through the jungle. Any mishaps and he’s a dead man, for sure.

I wanna do that, oh me next, me next, please!

I wasn’t sure where this ride was at first, but it looked like somewhere in South East Asia, from the dress of the people, their looks and the jungle surroundings. I played the video again and caught the man’s words at the start as he prepared for his “flight”. He said “From The Land of Dreamweavers, this is Lake Sebu’s Seven Falls Zipline”. So I Googled the keywords.

Wow, this is only THE highest zipline ride in South East Asia. The “Land of Dreamweavers”, Lake Sebu and Seven Falls are in the Municipality of South Cotabato, in the Philippines.

http://gotravelphilippineswithems.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/lake-sebu-land-of-dreamweavers.html?m=1

Someone commented on the video posting a link to other amazing ziplines around the world. Here is the link:
http://news.discovery.com/adventure/outdoor-activities/10-amazing-zipline-tours-all-around-the-world.htm

Now, I’m normally an armchair adventurer, happy to stay at home and explore the world via Pinterest and Google. But this zipline ride has made me go “Bucket List!” So, if I ever have enough money saved up, I intend to do at least 1 zipline ride. Or maybe 20…hehehe. Oh hey, they do tandem rides too, for 2 or even 3 people at a time, so bring a friend or two!

Here’s what all that fuss was about:

http://youtu.be/x09MWCivTk8

Go go go!!
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Our Rottnest Island Trip in Pictures

Some photos of our mini holiday to Rottnest Island on Saturday 27th December 2014:

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The ferry carries hundreds of hire bikes. The only vehicles allowed on Rottnest Island are utility vehicles for the upkeep and maintenance of the island. And buses to bring tourists around.

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One of the Rottnest Express ferries, seen from our ferry.

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Full past capacity on the ferry. The journey takes 30 minutes from Fremantle to Rottnest Island. Distance is 20km.

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My first smiling Quokka. They are known as the Happiest Animal On Earth. Yes, they really have a sweet smile and an inquisitive, friendly nature.

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Inside one of the main provisions stores on The Settlement. Make sure you load up on water (extremely important as drinking taps are far and few between, and it’s very, very warm out on the tarmac) and other essentials such as sunscreen, insect repellant, sunglasses. And buy a packed lunch before you set off on your bikes, as there are no other shops on other parts of the island.

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Adult Australian Raven in a tree. I’m going to research and write about Ravens next year…especially the difference between ravens and crows.

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The waters are really that clear, and really that gorgeous colour.

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Standing in the cool water. Ahhh bliss!

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Me and the Kid in the water. There were loads of boats moored around us. And this was just one of many coves on the island.

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Another cove, and more boats.

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Panorama of a dried up lake showing crystalline salt deposits.

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Close up of salt crystals on Pink Lake.

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Board explaining how pink salt is formed.

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Pink Lake.

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We will not let this hill defeat us. We will not let this hill…oh what the heck, let’s just get off our bikes and push them instead! On the way to Oliver Hill Gun Battery.

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All that way just for a big gun!

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And tunnels. I love tunnels.

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The Lighthouse, which we didn’t quite get to…on account of it being on a hill. And our hire bikes only had 3 gears, 2 of which didn’t work. Maybe next time…when we get electric bikes!

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Back to the Settlement for more water and food. This is the island’s resident peacock on his perambulations. Fearless of humans, unless they’re children chasing after it.

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Here’s Mr Peacock again, in a better light.

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The Kid standing next to our hire bikes.

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Round Two after lunch. Heading clockwise this time. Henrietta Rocks. She really does.

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Panorama of Henrietta Rocks.

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The Shark shipwreck on Henrietta Rocks.

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Jack aka The Kid in the hole. Henrietta Rocks. You can see the Shark shipwreck sticking up out of the water behind him.

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An unprecedented first. A Selfie! I never knew my new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (hubby’s early Xmas present to me) was capable of taking great selfies without the need to become a contortionist 😄.

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Another Selfie! The whole family together.

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The Kid and hubby on the rocks. Henrietta Rocks, to be precise. Shame we didn’t have our bathers, the waters looked so inviting.

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Board explaining Henrietta Rocks and the Shark shipwreck. When we were there someone was actually snorkelling around the shipwreck.

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Next stop, Parker Point. Here I got waylaid by a very cute and handsome Quokka, who led me into the trees where 2 of his mates were waiting. Okay, it’s not what you think…

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This is what my Quokka boyfriend needed. A good drink of fresh water. There were several of these cut-off bottoms of plastic bottles lying around, so I filled one up with water. And 2 quokkas came to get their fill.
It was a blisteringly hot day, even the bitumen was melting under my shoes, these poor guys would have been really suffering.

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My 2 quokka friends sharing the same water bowl.

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Steps down to Parker Point. By this time we were all so knackered we decided to forego the pleasure of a step workout. So instead, we cycled back to The Settlement in readiness to go home. Boy was it a long ride back! Up, down, up, down…definitely electric bikes next time!

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So here we are at Aristo’s Bar & Restaurant, cooling our feet until the 1825 ferry back to mainland Australia. Well no, once again we’ve been upstaged by yet another super cute Quokka.

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Joke: A Quokka walks into a bar…

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Oh, he got ejected soon after. A waiter picked him up by his thick rat’s tail, dropped him outside the bar and closed the door. Poor lil quokka. All he wanted was a drink.

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Our ship has come in. All in all, it was a good day. Tiring, hot and sweaty, lots of flies, lots of exercise, litres of terribly expensive but totally essential and all-important bottled WATER. But I’m in love with Quokkas now and looking forward to another trip to Rotto next year.

Rottnest Island for the Quokkas

Here we are on Rottnest Island, just off the coast of Perth, Western Australia. A daytrip for us that started with waking up before 6am, rushing to feed and water the chickens, Japanese Quail, budgies, weiros, koi, tropical fish, dogs and cat, before leaving the house at 7am to catch the Rottnest Express ferry from Fremantle to the island.

What a day! First hubby was tardy getting ready and we left the house 15 minutes later than planned. Then McDonald’s drive-thru mucked up our breakfast order and we were delayed by another 10 minutes. Then Google Maps gave us the wrong directions, and we ended up at the wrong ferry terminal and had to rush over across to the other side of Fremantle to find the right terminal. Then the roadsigns led us on a merry chase before we found the “B Shed” terminal. Then the parking ticket machines just had to be out of order, so it was a mad rush to find one that worked, pay for a ticket, run back to the car to display said ticket, run to the tail end of the rapidly disappearing queue to board the ferry…

We just made it. But had to then stand for 30 minutes on the ferry, which was chock-a-block. We sure are a family that doesn’t do things by halves!

And then at last we were on Rottnest.

It’s a lovely place to bring the family. Sun, surf, snorkelling, scuba-diving, water sports, bicycling, Segways for hire, chalets to rent, bbq areas, camping, a strip of food places and bars, even a mini cinema, the list goes on.

We hired bikes. They had weird rubber bands around the gears, instead of the usual bike chain. There were only 3 gears, 2 of which didn’t work. Mine lacked a bell, so I had to yell at pedestrians and other cyclists. The roads were hardly flat – if you weren’t able-bodied and fit, you would struggle up the hills. And there were LOTS of hills. Going downhill at breakneck speed is a lot of fun. Cycling in the scorching sun with a cloud of flies around your head is not.

But the best part of Rottness has got to be the Quokkas. Here’s what Wikipedia says about the Quokka:

The quokka was one of the first Australian mammals seen by Europeans. The Dutch mariner Samuel Volckertzoon wrote of sighting “a wild cat” on Rottnest Island in 1658. In 1696, Willem de Vlamingh mistook them for giant rats and named the island “Rotte nest”, which comes from the Dutch words rattennest meaning “rat nest”.

The word quokka is derived from a Noongar (Aboriginal) word, which was probably gwaga.

So today, here are some pics of Quokkas we saw on Rottnest. They are really cute and totally unafraid of humans. They are a protected species and the public are not allowed to touch them. (Shhh but I did tap a couple of them on their noses when they came sniffing around for food. And I poured some water into a container for them, poor thirsty souls).

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Here’s a joke. A quokka walks into a bar. No, seriously, it does.

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Artist Inspiration : Sonja Hinrichsen

I saw Sonja Hinrichsen‘s amazing large-scale snow drawings on Facebook today and went WOW!

Drawings on such a large scale would be impossible for one lone woman to achieve on her own, so Sonja gets dozens of volunteers to help her create these colossal works. The drawings have a cohesiveness because Sonja sets strict parameters for her volunteers to follow.

Click on the link for This Is Colossal’s article about Sonja’s snow drawings in Colorado:
http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2014/11/an-expansive-swirling-snow-drawing-atop-a-frozen-lake-by-sonja-hinrichsen/

(For more interesting articles, check out This Is Colossal’s site)!

Here are some aerial shots of Sonja’s most recent offering “Snow Drawings At Catamount Lake”, taken from her site:

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What first caught my attention was the similarities between Sonja’s concentric circles and connecting lines, and the “watering hole” or “campsite” circles and squiggly lines depicted in Australian Aboriginal Art. (For a short lesson on Australian Aboriginal Art symbols, click here for one of my previous posts). The powerful naivete of such symbols is very potent indeed.

Sonja’s Artist Statement explains the ethos behind her Art:

In my artwork I examine environments – urban, industrial as well as natural environments. I am interested in the intersection between place (city or nature) and human perception and utilization thereof, throughout history. Some of my works rely on photo-and video mappings, sound recordings, note-taking, and research about these places and their historical, societal and ecological circumstances. I am especially drawn to environments that may seem inhospitable, such as wastelands, deserts, high mountains and snow/ice landscapes. Mythology and local legends play a particular role in my research, as they bear invaluable information about places and how people(s) have lived in and with them in past eras. Despite an overall documentary character, these projects have a very personal focus, as they draw from my experiences and perceptions. While the attention may sometimes reach beyond the reality observed, and venture into hypothesis/fantasy, my pieces usually relate to issues pertinent in our modern, consume-oriented world. With the summary of the audio-visual materials and information collected I create immersive media installations with multiple video projections, sound collages and narrative (spoken or text within the projections).

Other projects are subtle expressions created directly in the environment. Typically these are simple performances or rituals that result in ephemeral art pieces. While nature erases them within a short time, they live on only in their documentation and are later used in video installations or become photographic pieces. One such project is “Snow Drawings”, large designs that I have been walking into pristine snow surfaces with snowshoes. These works correspond with and accentuate the landscape, and I hope that they help arouse appreciation and consciousness for the natural world. Modern society is becoming increasingly more disconnected from nature. I believe, however, that for a successful future of humanity it is essential that we re-gain a greater awareness of our planet’s nature.

As an artist I feel the responsibility to address subject matters our society tends to neglect or deny, including adverse impacts to the natural environment, social inequality and injustice, and human exploitation. While I am interested in provoking thought and in engaging my audiences intellectually, I am not interested in creating lasting artworks, as I believe that our world is over-saturated with man-made products. I like to unfold my work into large immersive experiences, however I prefer that it live on in its documentation only, and – hopefully – in the memories of my audiences.