Installation views as exhibited at Craft Victoria, Melbourne. Paper, cardboard, foamcore, adhesives, spray paint, plinths, audio soundscape (in collaboration with Mieko Suzuki). 1:1 scale models, dimensions variable. Photos: Matthew Stanton.

Magic Dirt is a sculptural and sound installation that explores how stereotypical representations of The Central Australian Desert might resonate with contemporary realities. As a place at the heart of national mythologies and internationally reproduced cultural clichés, Central Australia is more familiar to many through Australian films than through actually being there. Through such representations, it is a somewhat magical place of hauntingly empty landscapes, red dirt, dingoes and ancient spirits. The installation Magic Dirt reflects on how such preconceptions are complexly intertwined with experiences of journeying to the desert in a contemporary context. Developed while artist-in-resident at Watch This Space in 2013, the installation explores how my journey to Central Australia was affected by these preconceptions and shifted by my experience on site. Referencing my wanderings through Alice Springs and the surrounding desert and the fragments of detritus and sound I found along the way, Magic Dirt reflects on the ‘dirt’ behind the ‘magic’ representation and the story it might tell. Mixed by sound artist Mieko Suzuki, the soundscape weaves field recordings collected from the desert with samples from Mad Max, Wolf Creek, Wake in Fright and Evil Angels. Displayed on plinths like ethnographic specimens, the sculptures are handcrafted paper models that combine detritus collected from the desert with fabricated fantasies. Presented together as a sculptural and sound re-creation, the installation suggests an experience of Central Australia that ambiguously merges representations, realities and possible reconstructions.

Soundscape collaboration with Mieko Suzuki