It was late here, almost the witching hour and the crack of dawn in Sydney, when we went live to visit with Scottish Australian artist and writer, Dr. Peter Hill in Balmain, Sydney. Our audience came in from Paris, and Puglia, Italy (clearly night owls like me), Connecticut, Massachusetts and The Hague. We were a small group of seven but from diverse locations.
There are some things I’m learning about these online, live, lockdown outings which I need to work with. It is quite hard to bring everyone in at a suitable time. Inevitably there is a time zone which we just can’t allow for so my response has been to try and vary the times so everyone who has contacted me can join some tours. We have had audience members from Portugal, France, Spain, Denmark, The Netherlands, the east, central and west of the US, Australia (east and west coast), Singapore and the UK. If you have an urge to join us please contact me and tell me what days and times will work for you and I will do my utmost to accommodate you!
Another factor is that everyone we visit has a preferred time as the work around their job, family, online learning, hours available, internet strength and access to their studio or gallery space. Lockdown factors have also meant that guests who want to join can’t always make it with one even being called up by the NHS as an essential worker just before the call!
A couple of things I loved about visiting Peter at my midnight and his dawn were that the beautiful readings from Stargazer that he honoured us with were a bedtime story for those of us in the EU. It was very special to see the sun rising over the trees from the Balmain balcony not so long after it had set here (after 10pm in the Northern summer). Perhaps a look outside may be something we endeavour to do in every future tour.
I’ve decided to just post some of the phrases and associations to the live book reading, Peter’s art, and the conversation that we enjoyed. It seems too rich as it is for me to then compose it in a prose reflection, a too reductive process. I’ll add at the end links so you can enjoy some of Peter’s work, the fascinating work of artists and writers that were mentioned and additional published and unpublished writing and images. There will be links to online resources to listen, look and/or read.
Peter’s ruminations on lighthouse keeping and lockdown, and the links in his works and writing to the times in which we live are fascinating.
“A friendly rock in an ever changing ocean…the film ‘The Lighthouse’ with Willem Dafoe…mad bastards on islands…The crack where the light gets in…the separation between fiction and art…Karl Popper and Falsification- advance though doubt. Lighthouse keeper’s night shifts were called Rembrandts…The Night Watch men. Slowed down, listened to natural sounds, pondering on Blake’s Universe in a grain of sand. Keepers would refuse shore leave. Shore leave=loneliness. The sounds and people would be overwhelming, too many choices, cravings. Living with trauma and how it shapes you…Paddy Armstrong, The Guildford Four, Wrongful imprisonment, Gerry Conlan multimedia installation, the original voice, the media voice, the filmic voice (Daniel Day Lewis, The Name of The Father. Social superfictions, falsified documents. And finally from Beckett, “Fail better”
Order the book! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/277355.Stargazing
Listen, Leonard Cohen, Anthem https://youtu.be/c8-BT6y_wYg
Watch, Lighthouse, https://youtu.be/Hyag7lR8CPA
Learn, Karl Popper, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/popper/
Deep dive, This amazing link to the project at the Rijksmuseum that allows you to zoom in on Rembrandt’s most famous work in a way never before possible. https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/most-detailed-ever-photograph-of-the-night-watch-goes-online
Listen, Augeries of Innocence read by Roy Macready. https://youtu.be/Wi848QqLbdo
History, https://www.irishcentral.com/opinion/others/guildford-four-freed (Trigger warning: includes video of the bombing embedded in the article).
A page from Peter’s diaries, https://www.superfictions.org/new-blog
A film to watch or rewatch, https://youtu.be/04ZYTB2ZXVc
Listen, Samuel Beckett, extract from The Unameable, …the sounds of beasts https://youtu.be/sFDI_NGjaLY
And finally…Peter’s homepage! https://www.superfictions.org/new-page