We ran/I am

Gough, Julie (2007) We ran/I am. [Artefact]

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View at Publisher Website: http://www.cairnsregionalgallery.com.au

Abstract

This work documents the action of running at seven self-selected places from the innumerable sites where the 1830 "Black Line" – "Military operations against the natives of Van Diemen’s Land" took place across Tasmania: Bothwell, Lake Sorell, Campbell Town, Richmond, Prosser Bay, Orford, Waterloo Point Swansea and St Patrick's Head. The aim was to produce both a conjunction and disruption of place/time to connect past with present across Van Diemen's Land now called Tasmania. The "Black Line" was apparently unsuccessful in that only a purported two Aboriginal people were captured. However, the result of the campaign alongside the preceding thirty years of attempted eradication of my ancestors have resulted in the vagaries of myself and extended family. Distrustful of any one version of the past—particularly published accounts from other cultures, survival has come from an ability to swerve or deftly accommodate change; mobilisation prevented capture or erasure of identity. Humour, double entendre and codified meanings are everyday means of interacting with the world, finding those like-minded, like-cultured with whom to make meaning afresh. By running repeatedly at these places various historical scenarios of capture and escape were replayed and reprocessed. Robinson’s wrenching journal entry brought the mediums and momentum to the work—the running, the trousers. Issued to Aboriginal people in the early 1800s the clothing is a visual reminder of the removal of people from their environment. Wearing the seven trousers and embedding them with the earths of those places they became joint witnesses to my present and our past experiences of trying to live in our Country post invasion. Current frustrations with tourism and eco-expansion across north-east Tasmania encouraged me to run repeatedly in each place registering my feelings of increased compression into ever tinier 'land parcels'. The stress of hiding in dunes to avoid daily eco-tourists in summer on Traditional Country is the shadow Other piece within this work. The revised run, part performative, was reclamation of place, reabsorption of history on the run.

Research Statement

Research Background This work was exhibited in a solo exhibition titled Rivers Run at Cairns Regional Gallery. This was an exhibition of five artworks that together reveal my ongoing physical and psychological engagement with Tasmania and its history.
Research Contribution My process involves uncovering and representing historical stories to evaluate the impact of the past on our present lives. Combining found human made and natural materials from indoor and outdoor sites I manifest places that are anywhere and nowhere, internal worlds through which we might engage with our conflicting and subsumed histories.
Research Significance Testing how I recognize my island and if it still recognizes me six generations since my tribal past, each piece is a fragment of the desire to recall and understand what happened in lethal frontier Van Diemen’s Land before it became amnesiac Tasmania.
Item ID: 19935
Item Type: Artefact
Keywords: indigenous, aboriginal, Australia, mixed-media, cross-cultural, colonisation, contemporary, exhibition
Additional Information:

Exhibited at Cairns Regional Gallery, 14 February - 5 March, 2010.

Media of Output: Calico, 14 photographs on paper, earth pigments, c.2.0 x 7.5 x 0.05m. Photography by Craig Opie; Map of the Black Line: “Military Operations against the Aboriginal Inhabitants of Van Diemen’s Land: No. 9 FIELD PLAN of MOVEMENTS OF THE MILITARY” courtesy o
Funders: This project was assisted through Arts Tasmania by the Minister for Tourism and the Arts
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2012 22:30
FoR Codes: 19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1905 Visual Arts and Crafts > 190502 Fine Arts (incl Sculpture and Painting) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950104 The Creative Arts (incl. Graphics and Craft) @ 100%
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