RMIT and the University of Lethbridge Indigenous Arts Residency Exchange
15 June to 12 July 2012, PROJECT SPACE
Jason Baerg [CAN]
The School of Art's international Artist in Residence Program—iAIR—in collaboration with the University of Lethbridge's Gushul Studios hosts an annual Indigenous residency exchange between Canada and Australia. These reciprocal residencies have been established to foster an increased mobility for artists and promote cross-cultural exchange and dialogue.
He took me outside with 'it' held tightly in our left hands — as fists, the left closest to our hearts. We stood in the middle of Franklin Street beside a lonely tree planted in between the lanes, wind worn and weary.
The ones that are having a hard time are the ones that you should touch.
Place your hand on the tree, place your wishes in your left hand, move them there with your mind, then think on it: breathe. Then place it at the roots of the lonely tree; it goes back to the earth.
Standing on this windy Melbourne city street I felt a strange otherworldliness. I felt I was in two places at once — there [here], but also somewhere else. Maybe it was a place that I used to call my home. It was as if — with eyes shut — the street had melted away around us. The intangible dichotomy of place that forever pervades those who run from Home.
The visions slip into each other. Sometimes you wake up staring at the ceiling, wondering where you exactly are.
I tried to imagine what his home might be like, ceaseless prairies and endless horizon, and how he grew up in it. Learning about the world through the television: the nomadic voyager. Then learning how to escape home. I wondered if he was thinking about it as we held the tree in the middle of the street. Like him I've left home, but the constant push and pull is always there. It comes in a flash of wide sky and long grass. How is it to never be Home but be compelled to always return there, if only in your mind?
Back inside in the warmth, he tells me about the Red, the Black, the Yellow and the White, and the Medicine Wheel, and how the Red, Black and Yellow couldn't exist without the White, and how the White, Red and Black couldn't exist without the Yellow, and that each quarter of the wheel needed the others. He values the colours so much. They are important to him in ways I can't begin to understand.
And Blue, Blue is also important.
The colours are the spaces in-between. Where the intangible ideas of the world can be recorded. The ideas are ambitious and transcending; he is the perpetual optimist. Acceptance, acknowledgement, equality and the universal: the Red, the Black, the Yellow and the White.
I am curious about this wandering life, a constant journey to and from that place. People always ask 'where you come from' and 'why you left'. He might provide the geography but I see that he carries Home in his mind. For that is one way to take the best of it.
In a flash I see wide sky and long grass.
Adriane Hayward, 2012. Artist, Writer, Curator.
Sage said, do not fear, story finds its teller
The train unloaded passengers into three feet of snow
Expiry dates are algorithms
Modernism predates Mondrian
There is no secret your Spirit does not know
Remote genius relegates/regenerates
We eat the ephemeral
Potential is mapping
I don't care who your father is
Don't you dare (not) look me in the eye
In the name of equity, dis©rimination occurs
Mute spoke, did you hear that
Truth is an entity
Season birthed color
There is politic in minimalism
He holds her/him
Dangle feet allow comfort to mend
Safety: Four for two too
Spat in face to trigger laughter
Tell me about privilege
Crucial lessons taught by six year old
Story finds its teller …
As artistic practices continue to expand reflecting our innate desire for innovation, Jason Baerg engages an extreme range of responses to cultural custom, community and space. www.jasonbaerg.com
RMIT School of Art international Artist in Residence Program—iAIR—and the University of Lethbridge conduct an annual Indigenous exchange residency between Australia and Canada. This project has been developed to connect and illuminate Indigenous culture and explore ideas of Indigeneity. The School warmly welcomes Jason Baerg as the 2012 Canadian recipient of this exchange.
This partnership is made possible by the generous support of the University of Lethbridge Gushul Studios and The
Canada Council for the Arts, as well as the cooperation and assistance of Tanya Harnett, the Acting Chair of Department of Native American Studies and Assistant Professor of the Department of Art, and Desmond Rochfort, the Dean Faculty of Fine Arts.
iAIR is global in attitude, action and presence-connecting people through art and generating opportunities for creative
experimentation, cross-cultural dialogue and international mobility. http://www.rmit.edu.au/art/iair
The iAIR program and Jason Baerg would like to thank the RMIT School of Architecture, Andrew Thompson, Adriane Hayward, Yanxin Li, Liam Revell, Auntie Winnie, Kevin White, Martyn Hook, and all who assisted with this project.
Us and Them — Umwelten
Concurrent Spare Room Exhibition:
The Unknown Icon