Townsville floods remembered in PUNQ art show

Townsville’s winter is, as I’ve said before, so full of events that we hardly have time to take them all in. We were still recovering from Strand Ephemera, NAFA and the Fringe when PUNQ (Pop-Up North Queensland, co-ordinated by Umbrella Studio) opened a week ago.

There was a lot to see, as a look at their online program reveals. We didn’t get to all of it but did enjoy Golden Bee’s Hive Alive, the quirky Botanica-Techno installation in the Perfumed Gardens, and (getting to the point of the post) Alison McDonald’s site-specific After, a clever, powerful depiction of Ross River as a trail of, essentially, reclaimed debris.

‘After’, with Ross Dam in the distance and the port and Ross Creek in the foreground

Continue reading “Townsville floods remembered in PUNQ art show”

Strand Ephemera 2021

Strand Ephemera is a biennial event so this year’s iteration, 17 – 25 July, was the first of the COVID era. (That’s actually a rather startling thought. Was life really that different two years ago? Yes, it was.) We will therefore forgive it for being a little smaller than the others, being so grateful that it happened at all.

The site, at least, hasn’t changed.

strand, magnetic island
Looking along the beach and out to Magnetic Island

Continue reading “Strand Ephemera 2021”

Strand Ephemera 2019

Strand Ephemera 2019
Leela Chakravarti and Edward O’Brien: Coral Bleaching (photo: David Tattersall)

There is always something beautiful, something whimsical and something political in Townsville’s biennial sculpture festival, Strand Ephemera, as I said four years ago, so I try to get to it. That’s increasingly difficult because our winters are stuffed so full of big arts events that locals have to give up either work or sleep to get to everything (visitors at least have the advantage of being here on holiday) but that’s a good problem to have, and we do our best.

Here’s a small gallery, similar to the one I posted in 2017, Continue reading “Strand Ephemera 2019”

Feng Shui in the Australian tropics – does it make any sense?

Wikipedia, normally a reliable first-stop-shop for information, judges Feng Shui harshly, calling it a “pseudo-science” before going on to say, more factually, “The term feng shui literally translates as “wind-water” in English. … The feng shui practice discusses architecture in terms of “invisible forces” that bind the universe, earth, and humanity together, known as qi [chi]. Historically, feng shui was widely used to orient buildings—often spiritually significant structures such as tombs, but also dwellings and other structures—in an auspicious manner. Depending on the particular style of feng shui being used, an auspicious site could be determined by reference to local features such as bodies of water, or stars or the compass.”

Feng shui in the West has a distinctly New Age “spiritual” flavour and seems to have lost touch almost entirely with its origins; but its origins are the folk wisdom of people who observed nature closely for their very survival, and I wondered whether those foundations could be retrieved and applied here in Townsville in the twenty-first century. Continue reading “Feng Shui in the Australian tropics – does it make any sense?”