Gretel Taylor - Dance
Laki Sideris - Video
Warren Smith - Music
Scourge is a two-part video work that suggests salinity and other ecological imbalances in the Murray Darling region parallel the other 'white scourge’ since colonisation, lamenting greed and insensitivity to the ecologies that have sustained millennia. Taylor’s improvised site-responsive dance actively senses and responds to her surrounding environment in an attempt to find orientation and seek relationship, whilst she is also aware of her alterity as an Anglo Australian. Scourge explores the complex faces and attitudes of whiteness: the suppressed grief entwined with colonial guilt, and now, of ecocide; greed; denial; longing to belong; and desperate attachment to and love of ‘our’ Australian landscapes.
Tactile engagement with qualities of salt is evoked through close-range images of Taylor's body immersed in sites in the Mildura region. In contrast, aerial footage of her dance gives a sense of vast context. The scale of salinity issues is of course global – rendering 20% of the irrigated land on earth unproductive for food production (2014, International Water Management Institute).