9 March 2022
Sometimes, museums are almost too much for me. When given the run of storerooms as well as displays, I feel overwhelmed – every object/image a story to be remembered, reconstituted, reimagined, re-presented.
For my recent residency at the Maritime Museum of Tasmania, I solved the problem of where to begin by getting personal, gravitating to objects that sent grappling hooks to memories I was already harbouring: a man reciting the names of the Derwent Class yachts, the story of Joseph Conrad’s captaincy of the Otago, the collapse of the Tasman Bridge, the submerged place of Lake Illawarra in Hobart's collective imagination, the only nautical knot I can do behind my back.
I pictured the prose-poems displayed as printouts beside the chosen objects, but the residency’s mastermind, Annalise Rees, encouraged me to think outside the A4 rectangle. Soon I was sewing words onto pillowslips and knitting them into scarves, paying homage to the etymological bond between ‘text’ and ‘textile’.
Eight of the prose poems, and four of the attendant textile works will be featured in Island (164), which publishes next month (April, 2022).