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.
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 bigartsevents 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.
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?”
Festival 2018 seemed to come to us from nowhere and in retrospect we’re still not sure whether that was because we weren’t paying attention or because it was poorly publicised. In any case, it was a week of concerts, dance performances and public art in Queen’s Gardens and Strand Park, complementing the Townsville segment of the Commonwealth Games.
The concerts – some free, some not; some in the Spiegeltent, some in the open air – included The Idea of North (last here in 2006), the Grigoryan brothers, Archie Roach, local youth dance and circus groups, Townsville Guitar Orchestra and many more.
The Queens Gardens site was decorated with hundreds of hanging stars, very pretty at night, but the street art at Strand Park made better photos: