The welcome to Grong Grong* – Garrongoorung sign on the front of the info folder in my motel room suggests that the name comes from an aboriginal (i assume Wiradjuri) word for “bad camping ground”. This place is too far away from the Murrumbidgee river. But here we “camp” with our delightful hosts John and Sandra at the Grong Grong Motor Inn.
Over breakfast we try to avoid talking about what’s ahead as Vic has scheduled a meeting over lunch for us to share what we are thinking about doing over the coming days.
I choose to take a walk to the Grong Grong cemetery first thing about a kilometre away. I am contemplating a durational performance about grief and wanted to spend the morning focussing my thoughts. The graves are mostly old and I am taken by the synthetic flowers that have blown away from their knocked over vases. I pause for a moment to reflect on Mary Bean whose son Norman was killed in action during WW1 and whose husband Henry followed some three weeks later. I wonder how soon somebody would be notified of the death of a family member during the war and whether or not it was the shock of his son’s death that introduced Henry to that peace which surpasseth all understanding …
While I was away Sarah went to the local tai chi class and came back all inspired to make a work with the women she met. For a small community (the sign says population 150 but nobody really knows) there is quite a bit going on … and its all covered in the Grong Grong gossip. While here Sarah also plans to make a video clip for her project Her Riot.
Clytie has boxes everywhere, including one full of 60 different types of tape (but no blu-tac – which she later turns out to need). Over lunch she talks about how she might like to set her room up as a museum and ask DB if he can borrow his typewriter to make the labels. She also has spent the morning negotiating with John about whether she can drill into the roof. At dinner she tells us she has taped lots of stuff to the walls and installed a light into a dead rat.
Vic explains his role as the director. His task will be to find ways for the audience to navigate the motel rooms and experiences, while also playing with his newly learnt video mapping skills obtained last week in Berlin.
It is good to hang out with Julie again – we were colleagues once. She can answer questions like if I wear my cheap suit in the shower for an hour is it likely to be salvageable? The answer is most likely, give it a dry clean and a press, probably best if the shower is cold.
DB has cameras, lots of them and lights. He is working with John to build something in his room that I didn’t quite understand. This afternoon he moved a projector in, walked to the grongie shops for a coffee, shot some road footage, unsuccessfully tested twixtor, and spent some time with me doing the painful task of installing software from a cd when your computer doesn’t have a cd/dvd drive.
I spent the afternoon/evening experimenting with making my puppet sleep realistically. Its early days but its looking good.
(i’m blogging here during the residency)
* not to be confused with Grong Grong by Grong Grong released 1984 on Alternative Tentacles after this Australian band supported the Dead Kennedys during a 1983 tour down under.