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Bunya: Whip Roots

posted on 15.02.2018, 00:00 by Meredith Randell
'Bunya: Whip Roots' is an audio-visual artwork about a compulsively foraging tree forest landscape at Bunya Mountains, Queensland (QLD) and uses de-saturated colours similar to Van Diemen's Land. The anthropomorphic sinuous forms are suggestive of human limbs, pythons, genitalia or muscles. The disturbing audio-visual signifiers are human breathing and feeding, synchronised to subtle motion design of poking, prodding, retracting, gulping and sucking, surrounded by disturbing gulping maws embedded in the landscape and as with 'The Fen: Friggy,' the relentless pursuit of these forms never achieve fruition because it is trapped in a Sisyphean loop. This cinematic landscape was successfully exhibited online and in physical gallery spaces in Sydney, Brisbane and as part of a touring exhibition throughout regional QLD. Artworks created for 'The Fen' creative practice research project all implement perverse and abject strategies resulting in the simultaneous abject emotional reaction of attraction and repulsion – which is necessary to create “the place where meaning collapses” [93]. These artworks are beautiful, hybrid monstrosities that seduce, beguile and disturb. These landscapes represent my experience of forests - vast in scale and detail, the same forms captured from different angles and perspectives - all shown at once - all connected. Through the addition of sound and motion these landscapes come alive and embody the typically hidden respiratory, digestive and reproductive botanical compulsive consumptions in these places - with an emphasis on being simultaneously sensual and repulsive. From the body of work produced for 'The Fen' project, 'The Furnace' is one of six artworks that are deemed to be successful because they have all been finalists in prestigious national art awards judged by peers or have been commissioned by public funding bodies. It is not possible to effectively gauge the reaction of audiences in this article and thus measures relate to peer recognition and geographic reach. All of the artworks use similar abject audio-visual strategies to create the “the place where meaning collapses” (Kristeva 1982, 2). These artworks are not factual representations of these natural areas but instead present new myths of these landscapes. All of the visual elements have been manipulated to satisfy the aspirations of the project. The distorted visual space aspirations of multi-perspective, compositional interiority with high detail in both the foreground and background, and the exclusion of a horizon line are all fulfilled in this cinematic artwork. Repetitive, compulsive, consumptive motion is synchronised to disturbing audio and the co-existing opposing binaries presented in 'The Fen' artworks include human and non-human, subject and object, plant and animal, culture and nature, possession and dispossession, life and death, strange and familiar, real and surreal, union and separation, and soothing and threatening. The artwork’s perversity results from the co-existence of these binaries but also from the combination of the anthropomorphic sinuous tree forms with human audio. All of these artworks are based on a kairological Sisyphean loop except for 'GASH' (Randell 2016). Reach: 2016 ‘[UN] natural urges’ Brenda May Exhibition, 2015 Queensland Regional Art Awards Finalist and Touring Exhibition, 2015 Arts meets Science Exhibition





Randell, M.

Place of Publication

QRAA Online Gallery

Peer Reviewed


Open Access


Era Eligible



HD video

Creative Works Category

Visual art work