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Rosalind Crisp

Marlo, East Gippsland, April 2020

As artist-in-residence at Orbost Exhibition Centre and with the support of a Fellowship from Regional Arts Victoria, I am dancing daily, sifting through recent work in local fire-damaged sites and inventing some new processes.


Isolation is a joy for some of us - creatives as we are now called in the neo-liberal drive to recruit artists as entrepreneurs.


Covid 19 has exposed the gaps in this system and revealed the absurdity of our fast-paced, consumerist, extractivist, planet-destroying life-style. Talk of returning to normal makes me queasy. It was the dogma of Growth that got us here.


Covid-19 is both sadly deadly and a celebration of our human fragility and intricate connectedness to other lifeforms. Industrial farming, logging, burning, human over-breeding are smashing these links. Isn’t this virus simply nature rising?

This must have been the first Easter for many, many years where shorebirds in Victoria are at peace in their home habitat, unthreatened by us. And, although not directly related to Covid 19, this is the first autumn in many, many years where we in East Gippsland haven’t been oppressed by the smoke and species deaths of planned burns.


Please can we stay like this?


I am missing performing though. The live contact with a group of other human beings watching me, pulls and stretches my work in ways I cannot do alone. The Communication makes the Art. But in the absence of the Performative, I am discovering hidden treasure troves. Spaces are opening that offer infinite permission to linger, to listen intimately, to implode or explode in any direction the body desires or the imagination encourages. Isolation has always been how I find my art anyway. And despite losing over 50% of my annual income, there has never been a better time to create.

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