Thank you for coming here. Whenever that may be, and wherever you are right now.
I hoped to make this a private space for you and I.
Intimate, like a conversation.
However i realise it cant help but seem more like a confession, so for that i apologise.
Before commencing I wished to ask you a favour if thats ok?
Holding where your lower forearms start just above your palms, can you exert a slight amount of pressure so as to feel your pulse, your hearts rhythm.
Now if it’s at all possible, and you’re willing, imagine if you were holding my lower forearms, and i yours, and you could literally feel the lifeblood circulating.
we can start.
When i was a child I regularly stood on the break wall at the south mole in Walyalup to greet or farewell my sister. Waving and watching as she sailed past, either leaving or returning to port from one of the numerous vessels she had worked on.
Since then I've watched many a sunset from those rocks. Spent countless nights on them, contemplating events and issues in life, naively asking the darkness containing the stars for clarity and direction.
I have screamed my lungs into the howling winds there, attempting to rid the body of every trace of emotion contained within it.
Ive stood at sea level, on soaked and battered rocks during a handful of storms, embracing the swells ferocity.
Those rocks, the wind, the water, the salt, all of it is imbued with a particular energy. One similarly generated when departing on an unknown journey, yet juxtaposed with the tender surrender of farewelling a loved one.
At 7:03pm the 20th of February I farewelled the setting sun over the Indian Ocean from the south mole and set off on an overnight journey on foot, running towards a single star: Sigma Octantis, the closest star to the south celestial pole. Surrendering the body to the darkness, time and prolonged effort until the sun rises the following morning.
The abstract line that is slowly growing on the other webpage is my live route being tracked. Dividing the screen in two. Metaphorically hinting at a self being separated from all earthly ties and turning towards the celestial.
A line with its guiding premise being an almost indistinguishable faint dot of energy in the nights sky. An unfathomable distance, juxtaposed with the unknown distance being travelled on foot towards it.
At some point the route will become expansive enough on the page that observing movement of the line tracking me will be barely noticeable, just like trying to focus in on the star I will be running towards.
This undertaking was initially set to unfold a year ago, right before spending time in Norway. However as the date drew closer there was an uneasy reconciliation that the body and mind was not prepared for what would unfold despite originally hoping it was. Emotion too heavily distorted the guiding principle, obscuring the gift opportunity presented should one be open to it.
What was experienced and learnt through pursuing a recent project in Norway (the manifestation of which is currently exhibited at Moore Contemporary, and is a companion to this venture) now instilled a sharpened clarity.
Most importantly the time spent amongst the mountains in the northern hemisphere for 90 days revealed a certain inner energy that I hadn’t previously known existed, or experienced. As if being acquainted with ones spiritual heart. And because of this it instinctively made sense to pursue this current overnight journey now.
To precede the above it’s necessary to mention a particular moment in time a couple years ago where it was as if the soul spoke to heart, urging it to grow stronger.
Realising its strength was a limiting factor to what one could experience and feel in life, and therefore the depth of potential work that could be created, I set out to expand its parameters. Learning to better connect with the heart muscle in the hope of finding something more deeper than what id come to know.
The primary methodology became the simple act of leaning forward and falling forwards, communing with earth one footfall at a time. Running, i guess i should say. One of the most primal activities that for many cultures dates back millennia, and was, and still is, a means of connecting to nature and the divine.
This interaction with the landscape has become a daily practice since that particular turning point years ago. First at dawn, to greet the rising sun, then at dusk to farewell it as it slips below the horizon, all the while wearing a heart rate monitor across the chest.
A circadian ritual, adhered to throughout the days, weeks, months and years. Throughout the wind, rain, sleet, snow and thunderstorms. Throughout the burning heat of +40 degrees celsius and the menacing cold of negative 30 and below. All the while being guided by a deep reverence for the land the body is fortunate enough to be moving over whilst breathing in the sky. Engaging with an acute sensitivity that strives to not leave a mark or trace on its surface.
Most outings are shaped by a certain religiosity, become prayers with the earth, or dances with terrain and the weather, whilst others focus on specific efforts and the adaptations they induce.
There are long, slow and easy ventures that teach patience and humility. Then there are those where holding a specific pace for a prolonged period of time will make your body feel like it’s burning from the inside out.
The most transformative types though are at two opposite ends of the spectrum. The truly hard efforts, where you are apprehensive the night before because the exertion your body will go through will leave the taste of blood in the mouth, have you on the verge of passing out as your own heartbeat deafens you. Gifting you with a lingering hoarse cough for the day afterwards.
Finally, and most significantly there are the very long adventures where time gently has its way with you. Sheds away your preconceptions, your worries and criticality. Sedates your consciousness and reveals your Spirit. Sets you free from yourself, untethered.
Falling away from Earth
The soul spoke to the heart, yes. At the time I wasn’t searching for answers and became absorbed in the daily ritual that followed. Trusting in the guiding energy, the movement, the preparation, not exactly sure what was being prepared for. Until things intuitively and instinctually fell into place the first day spent in Bergen, Norway. Where instead of gaining bearings of the city, I was drawn to go and get lost in the cloud and snow up on a small mountain named Løvstakken.
From that point on each day of the week, over the course of three months, was dedicated to one of the 7 mountains surrounding the city. What transpired was to spend between 5-8 hours with each. running, climbing, making multiple ascents. Building an intimate relationship with each through time and effort, willingly subjecting the body to being transformed by them.
The resultant outcome, a series of 7 paintings honouring each mountain, made using borrowed earth from each summit mixed with seawater.
The body was devoted to those 7 mountains. And tonight the body will be devoted to a single star.
Lately I've been thinking a lot about the spirit of a being, and the bodily vessel containing it. How physical practices can inherently shape, influence or extend whatever “it” may be. Or more correctly, become a medium to liberate that “it”.
Consistently cycling through such physical experiences over a long duration of time, and through differing environments cant help but alter ones epigenetic’s and consequentially ones physiology, psychology: ones overall being.
Tonights journey toward Sigma Octantis attempts to honour that moment inside all of us where the physical and psychological merge to release a guiding energy that takes over and looks after our body, carrying it further into the distance, wherever that journey may lead. No longer tuned into the earths frequency but instead the cosmos. An energy that I can only liken with one word: Spirit.
The universe talks to itself through us
Last year the guiding premise for this current undertaking was an untranslatable longing, what I referred to as a heartsstone of sorts, carried within.
Text was written to accompany the venture, but so much of it is no longer relevant because I am no longer the same person.
There is one small piece i wished to share though, I hope you don’t mind…
The means of releasing what is felt out into the world can sometimes be stressed over to the point of dishonouring its origin and consequently nullifying its message. Stripping power from emotion. Whats left then? And where does whatever left go?
Energy gets redistributed. We exchange it with our surroundings and each other. That charge within you and i, firing our electronic impulses and signals, our chemical reactions. Once we pass, all of it will be repurposed. It doesn't just end, just as it doesn't begin. Everything is constantly in motion, passing from one state to another. Time distorts immediacy, can lengthen or shorten how it’s perceived and felt only to dissolve it in an instant. A hallucination of sorts.
I say this all to remind myself. We are made of stardust.
Where do you fit into this situation?
You came here either curious or willingly and if you are still reading, it was my only wish to humbly remind you that there is always the night, and the stars that turn around your fixed centre. Yours and my connection to the unknown. The celestial sky.
You and the zenith