Rescript

A ritual for living and ongoing connection.
A muslin handkerchief. A knot to remember. A name. A loved one returned. Ash as rescript.

 

Temporarily transporting ash from the land of my post-fire home, Rescript was a performance installation honouring the loss of non-human life during the 2019/2020 black summer fires in Australia while simultaneously acknowledging new beginnings. Over four hours 75 piles of ash, ranging in size from the slightest pinch to an arm-load, were carefully and deliberately placed on one of seven tray tables underneath one of seven metal arches. A name was scribed on a white muslin square and a corner knotted with a pebble of ice to hang over each pile. Over the course of time the ash absorbed the water droplets at once acknowledging grief; the water that extinguished the fires; and the water that creates the possibility for new growth.

 

The Green Wattle Creek fire swept through vast tracts of Gundungurra country now variously divided into national parks, conservation areas, crown lands, rural and private properties. It burnt for 75 days (26 November 2019 – 9 February 2020) before it was finally extinguished. It was just one of many fires during this time many of which joined to become what is termed a mega-fire. Gundungurra country is meant to burn, just not like this.

 

 

Performer and Installation Julie Vulcan

 

“A remarkable and devastating piece of work. Julie’s embodiment of tender presence, tending presence, an exemplar of how we might be with the dead.

Thank you.”

Prof Danielle Celermajer, Deputy Director – Academic, Sydney Environment Institute

 

“she sits

 she stands

 she walks

 she moves across and through the space weaving a quiet attention

 these full quiet acts are a memorial and we have chosen to be her companions

 she moves almost silently, barely disturbing the air

 her shoulders and her arms let us know to include ourselves, if we want to

 her body is open

 her body is open to remembering and to what may come”

excerpt from Lucy Cash an artist response. Read in full HERE

 

“The beauty and quiet influence of Vulcan’s work is her elongation of time that allows you to see the small in the vacuous. The unseen in the seen.

To make sense of what she returns to with her palette of ash, muslin, archways and her distinct use of red.

What is left are those images burnt into my subconscious.”

Michelle St Anne Requiem for a Black Summer: Witnessing, Knowing, and Remembering

 

Rescript was commissioned by the Sydney Environment Institute for Requiem.

Requiem was a ten-day event curated by Janet Laurence in association with the Sydney Environment Institute. It took place at the Paddington Reservoir with the support of the City of Sydney and was part of the 2021 Sydney Festival Program.

 

I acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which I live and work, the Gundungurra and Tharawal peoples and remember that sovereignty was never ceded.