'Paradise' was commissioned by the MOTI Museum in The Netherlands for the exhibition New Delights, which is part of the Hieronymus Bosch 500-year anniversary. A gigantic video installation of this work is exhibited in the Museum until the 31st of December 2016.
"Have you ever wondered what Brisbane looked like before white settlement? Have you ever wanted to know what's under all that concrete? Brisbanite Brett Leavy can help with that, as he develops a role-playing game (RPG) that simulates the lives of the tribes that once populated our city.
His game will use topographical data and 3D modelling to allow you to explore almost photo-realistic simulations of the CBD, South Bank, West End, Fortitude Valley, Bowen Hills, Woolloongabba and other Brisbane suburbs as they appeared before white settlement.
He recently demonstrated the game at the launch of the PIVOTAL Summit, which will bring together world leaders in spatial information technology, sustainability, climate change and governance in Brisbane next month."
(Rohan Williams, 11 May, 2015, bmag)
"Every different clan group has stories about their beginnings. Stories are like our archives, detailing how Creator Beings from under the earth arose to shape the land and to create the landscape. There are myriad variations of the story, but the theme stays the same.
The whole surface of the earth was like a moonscape, no features, no flora and fauna, just bare open plain. But there were Creator Beings sleeping in a state of potentiality just under the surface. At a certain time they were disturbed, whereupon their potentiality transformed into actuality and they arose out of the ground. When they finally emerged, they were very big and tall. These beings were spirit ancestors of many of the varieties of flora and fauna, especially large animals, in Australia. When this emergence was completed, the spirit ancestors started to interact with one another, fighting, dancing, running about, making love, killing. All of this activity shaped the Australian landscape as we know it today.
Throughout this period humans remained asleep in various embryonic forms, in a state like a kind of proto-humanity. They were awakened by all the activity above; the Creator Beings helped these proto-humans to become fully human, teaching them the Laws of custodianship of land, the Laws of kinship, of marriage, of correct ceremonies-they gave them every kind of knowledge they needed to look after the land and to have a stable society.
When this work was finished, the Creator Beings went back into the land, where they all still remain in the same eternal sleep from which they awakened at the beginning of time. The locations to which they returned have always been and are still today regarded as very important sacred sites.
Wherever the Creator Beings travelled, they left tracks or some kind of evidence of themselves. These traces determined the identity of the people. In other words, every Aboriginal person has a part of the essence of one of the original creative spirits who formed the Australian landscape. Therefore each person has a charter of custodianship empowering them and making them responsible for renewing that part of the flora and its fauna. The details of this metaphysics varied widely across the land with the physical environment, but the spiritual basis-the understanding that what separates humans from animals is the fact that each human bears a creative and spiritual identity which still resides in land itself-provided and still provides in many places the religious, social, political and economic force throughout Aboriginal Australia."
(Mary Graham, 2008)
Australian Humanities Review 45 (November 2008): "Mary Graham: Philosophical Underpinnings of Aboriginal Worldviews". This essay was originally published in Worldviews: Environment, Culture, Religion 3 (1999): 105-118.
"There are many different methods of pre–literate navigation that have been documented around the world. One of the most unique, a fusion of navigation and oral mythological storytelling, originated among the indigenous peoples of Australia, who navigated their way across the land using paths called songlines or dreaming tracks. In Aboriginal mythology, a songline is a myth based around localised 'creator–beings' during the Dreaming, the indigenous Australian embodiment of the creation of the Earth. Each songline explains the route followed by the creator–being during the course of the myth. The path of each creator–being is marked in sung lyrics. One navigates across the land by repeating the words of the song or re–enacting the story through dance, which in the course of telling the story also describe the location of various landmarks on the landscape (e.g. rock formations, watering holes, rivers, trees). In some cases, the paths of the creator–beings are said to be evident from their marks on the land (petrosomatoglyphs), such as large depressions in the land which are said to be their footprints (parallels can certainly be seen in some North American First Nation creation stories).
Songlines often came in sequences, much like a symphony or album today. By singing a song cycle in the appropriate order could navigate vast distances, often travelling through the deserts of Australia's interior (a fact which amazed early anthropologists who were stunned by Aborigines that frequently walked across hundreds of kilometres of desert picking out tiny features along the way without error). Each group had its own set of songlines that were passed from generation to generation so that future generations would know how to navigate when in neighbouring tribes' territories. The extensive system of songlines in Australia varied in length from a few kilometres to hundreds of kilometres in length crossing through lands of many different Indigenous peoples. Since a songline can span the lands of several different language groups, different parts of some songlines were in different languages corresponding to the region the songline was navigating through at the time, and thus could only be fully understood by a person speaking all of the languages in the song."
(The Basement Geographer, 21 October 2010)
Fig.1 "What are song lines?" Colin Jones, lecturer in Aboriginal History, talks about his culture, his history and his art. Queensland Rural Medical Education.
"Dark Places is part of the Overt Research Project, run by Office of Experiments.
This work was first shown publicly at the exhibition 'Dark Places' curated by Office of Experiments with John Hansard Gallery, Arts Catalyst and SCAN [http://www.scansite.org] in 2009–10. This site was publicly launched on 13th December 2010.
In developing the work for this exhibition, we imagined the construction of an alternative and experimental knowledge source that in turn maps all other sites of knowledge, as they exist in the UK Landscape. A 'Field Guide to Dark Places' is the first of these experimental resources, and aims to draw on and develop responses to the vast infrastructure of the techno–scientific and industrial / military complex, probing aesthetic, political and philosophical questions around spaces that are inaccessible or in some cases secret. (for reasons varying from simple understanding to physical and security issues – the performance as the writer Foucault would state of 'heterotopias').
Overall, the Overt Research Project is vast and so our aim was initially to start with an experience of physical sites within reach of John Hansard Gallery. Our research of these sites has led us to create experimental methods which in turn led to a number of installations, that can be seen by going to the John Hansard Gallery entry on this site (Southampton).
Whilst our own researchers, specifically Neal White and Steve Rowell, largely conducted research for the Dark Places Field Guide, our aim now is to extend the scale of this work by opening up this resource to enthusiasts, amateur scientists and urban explorers. If you would like to take part, we ask that you attend a physical event, as critical to our work is the link between the imaginary and the real – often confounded by pure virtual experience. We have run a number of events at which you can register to become an official Overt Researcher. These have most frequently included 'Critical Excursions'."
(Office of Experiments)