Sydney Mirror Displacements

The last post of the year and a second version of the Mirror Displacement.

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Slideshow: The mirror displacement of one tourist icon onto another.

Opera House from the harbour bridge


The opera house is a kind of giant mirror displacement, reflecting water and sky from its smoked windows.

The opera house from rooftop
Opera House displaced into city

Middle Brighton Baths


Photoshoot to record the almost unique building – ‘The Baths’ at Middle Brighton, Melbourne – established in 1860 – a wooden building to colonise the sea. It creates a fully porous wooden stockade that reaches out to the sea, but does not embrace it.  Instead the wood palisade turns its back on the wide ocean to provide a small square of cultivated, protected sea for bathers.  In 1860 this was at least in part to preserve modesty, something no longer required in an era of beach hedonism.


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full photoshoot in this slideshow





Luna Park, Melbourne

In Melbourne as a tourist visiting my brother, but travels around have made connections, walking past the Luna Park funfair in St Kilda and then on a later date a trip to the historic art gallery at Heide in the Melbourne suburbs, the home of John and Sunday Reed and the birthplace of Sidney Nolan’s Ned Kelly  series.


Albert Tucker’s painting ‘Extinction Express’ from 1988. The painting is from the Heide Collection and the apocalyptic interpretation decribed on the Heide Museum lable is reproduced below.  Tucker’s view of the seedy side of Melbourne had been described in his series of paintings called ‘Images of Modern Evil’ painted between 1943 and 1946, influenced by Tucker witnessing and condemning soldiers on leave visiting the prostitutes of St Kilda.


Luna Park still dominates the waterfront at St Kilda.  The border of this funfair is described by the scenic railway, not operating at the time of my visit, this looms over the sympathetically updated traditional rides, the white wooden scaffolding ever present in the background, a fence to the real world, demarcating a wild area of uninhibited fun in the now sedate Victorian suburb.  The structure of the traditional wooden roller coaster seems to dominate, appearing in every view.

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The entrance to Luna Park at night…..

Melbourne Mirror Displacements


Experimenting with a mirror.  This was done principally in response to Robert Smithton’s Yucatan Mirror Displacements, but it is not an exact recreation.  The location of the southern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia,  lacks the close relevance that Smithson felt for the Maya culture; one of the many middle and south american historical cultures that venerated the mirror, often created from polished obsidian.  This is  just a bathroom mirror tile, easily transported and able to connect sky to earth, sea to land. Most importantly it became a simple device allowing me to turn my back on the most scenic view and reflect it back into a new position or locale.

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a slide show of experiments….

Welcome to Australia I
Welcome to Australia II
In Melbourne I

The River

The River is a first draft ‘film poem’ using words from a Kathleen Raine Poem ‘The River’.  The words are a couplet:

‘Pure I was and free
By the rapid stream’

bardon-mill-still-34The film is just about the beguiling sound of the moving water, held up by branch and stone, and the connection with the visual image of the moving water, in each case obstructed in some way.  The water noise dips in each 30 second section and this appears to slow down the water, when it starts again, the water seems to swirl more quickly.

bardon-mill-still-33Partly inspired by the music of Steve Reich, for example his Sextet for marimbas.  This beguiling piece has a high speed perceived rhythm as a result of how the slow playing marimbas are layered and interspersed.

bardon-mill-still-31The walk to the section of the river at Bardon Mill, was eccentric.  I was looking for the original point of view from JW Carmichael’s view of the Tyne at Bardon Mill, but ended up crossing the river and enjoying the nature reserve on the other side. Wild and slightly unnerving, photographed in black and white…..

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Bizarre signage in the fields………

Could be a title for a photo series?


Rauschenberg’s bed


‘Bed is one of Rauschenberg’s first Combines, his own term for his technique of attaching cast–off items, such as rubber tires or old furniture, to a traditional support. In this case he framed a well–worn pillow, sheet, and quilt, scribbled them with pencil, and splashed them with paint, in a style derived from Abstract Expressionism. In mocking the seriousness of that ambitious art, Rauschenberg predicted an attitude more widespread among later generations of artists—the Pop artists, for example, who also appreciated Rauschenberg’s relish for everyday objects.

Legend has it that the bedclothes in Bed are Rauschenberg’s own, pressed into use when he lacked the money to buy a canvas. Since the artist himself probably slept under this very sheet and quilt, Bed is as personal as a self-portrait, or more so—a quality consistent with Rauschenberg’s statement, “Painting relates to both art and life. . . . (I try to act in that gap between the two).” Although the materials here come from a bed, and are arranged like one, Rauschenberg has hung them on the wall, like a work of art. So the bed loses its function, but not its associations with sleep, dreams, illness, sex—the most intimate moments in life. Critics have also projected onto the fluid-drenched fabric connotations of violence and morbidity.

Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999, p. 207′

(accessed online from Moma website) but seen in real life in tate Modern today!