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Saskia Beudel

Ecologist Steve Morton’s new book opens with a telling anecdote: as a young scientist in Alice Springs, he often advised visiting film crews about promising locations for their nature documentaries. When one group returned after a week in the desert, they reported back on a single hitch in an otherwise successful trip – a lack of wind-blown sand dunes. To fix this problem they cleared spinifex off a dune, creating a large expanse of bare sand, the illusion enhanced by accommodating morning winds.

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The National 2021

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
27 April 2021

The National 2021: New Australian Art, conceived in 2017, is a biennial survey exhibition to ‘address the specificities and nuances of what it means to make art from and for an Australian context at this point in time’. It is a joint initiative of the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia (MCA). In its first iteration, the ethos of collaboration – not just between these three major Sydney art institutions but between curators, artists, and writers – was writ large.

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Looking Glass: Judy Watson and Yhonnie Scarce

TarraWarra Museum of Art
11 December 2020

Just inside the first large gallery space at the TarraWarra Museum of Art is a wall-size photograph of a cemetery in a palette of muted greys. The graves are homogenous, modest, tilting with age. Scattered among the headstones are sun-bleached plastic flowers and concrete teddy bears clasping empty concrete vases. In front of the photograph stands a mortuary table bearing blackened glass objects.

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In her paean to walking, Rebecca Solnit notes that any history of walking is by nature provisional. As a subject it trespasses almost infinite fields: ‘anatomy, anthropology, architecture, gardening, geography, political and cultural history, literature, sexuality, religious studies’. Despite such ungainly dimensions, her book Wanderlust (2000) maps rich connections between walking, thinking, and creativity. These stretch from the peripatetic philosophers of ancient Greece to the Romantic poets; from Walter Benjamin on Parisian streets to political protesters crossing no-go zones.

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