On the first day, there is always a bit of an uncomfortable, unreal sensation that goes with stepping out into the public realm with an invitation to interact with a project. It is a process that involves a clear prerogative, and usually a script. It also involves care and openness from the artist when meeting new individuals within a community. And, the invitation to interact must inspire more than reciprocation; it has to strike a cord within the individual and the community you are connecting with.
On my first venture I hit the streets of Maroochydore from my HQ at the Lock-up, and headed to the library. In front of the library there is a magnificent old cotton tree that creates a perfectly shaded canopy over some public seating. This is where I popped out my sign ‘your advice please’. I had a clipboard prepped with a questionnaire that might reveal something of a local character, both aesthetically and metaphysically.
To familiarise myself with my new location and ease myself into my new role I photographed my surroundings. These images, along with audio field recordings, will go towards creating location portraits.
I broke the ice by asking a lady leaving the library if she would mind taking a picture of me ‘on the job’. She became the first person to share her insight into what it is to live with Integrity on the Sunshine Coast.
The aesthetic experience of the Sunshine Coast was written out in blues, yellow and crashing waves on the beach.
The metaphysical experience was a lot more complex and intimate.
It seems that there are fundamental elements that epitomise a community, but the individual lends a dynamism through which it can thrive.