TYRRELL DARK EMU – IN GRAPHITE, 2008-23
Eleven, multi-layered sets of Emu footprints created en plein air at Lake Tyrrell in the Victorian Mallee, each encapsulated in a Mylar envelope. Displayed backlit. Unique objects.
Writer Bruce Pascoe coined the phrase ‘dark emu’ to describe the indigenous Australian conception of the dark zones of the Milky Way, a celestial spectre of the flightless bird (Dromaius novaehollandiae) apparent to anyone peering skyward on clear, dark Antipodean nights. It is a vision redolent of the vast and varied corpus of lore linking earth and sky found in all pre-modern cosmologies. This series of live Emu’s footprints were recorded with graphite on tracing paper executed near the shore of Lake Tyrrell. Rips, scratches and the red Mallee earth strewn by the irascible Emu as it trod the artist’s graphite painted on its feet present stark gestures of non-human agency by a creature who is almost certainly unaware of its species anthropic celestial symbolism.
Another series of Emu footprints recorded chemically then replicated photographically by exposure to starlight at the same site constitutes the affiliated project,Tyrrell Dark Emu.
Trying to coax the Emu to walk with its graphite-covered feet across the tracing paper. Lake Tyrrell, 2008
Pushing the Emu to walk with its graphite-covered feet across the tracing paper. Lake Tyrrell, 2008