Monday, October 8, 2007

death opens up a hole in the real

Found this as an unpublished draft from last year:"Last night's Issues in Documentary Seminar was on autobiography.
Mark presented on Tarnation: and
Carolin presented on a Swiss autobiography by Jan Gassman and Christian Ziörjen, 2007
The opening image is a a projector on fire; the film is about death and life..and it affects/sears the senses in the intensity of its images and their juxtapositions. I am still thinking/feeling through the class discussion. Natalie spoke about how the film affected her: 'uncomfortable', l recall was her word. I clumsily tried to tease open the discussion, attempting to link Chrigu to ideas around death and representation in documentary film studies and to some of the thinking and writing around works of mourning. I was thinking of Hayden White's essay 'The Modernist Event'and his discussion on the dangers of narrativising trauma as a defense against mourning (in Vivian Sobchack, The Persistence of History, Routledge, NY 1996). And Susan Sontag's essay Plato's Cave in On Photography
where she probes the risks and delights inherent in 'taking' photographs. Or when I read Michael Renov's essay Filling up the Hole in the Real: Death and Mourning in Contemporary Film and Video"I was affected by his sentence death opens up a hole in the Real that will be filled by a "swarm of images" (125).
I thought of my own long alliance with psychoanalysis and cinema...which has (over thirty years) shown me to be ethical with the camera (when I wasn't) and to be wary of replacing film with try and be insightful with the swarm of images - their seduction. So in considering my autobiographies Maidens and To the Other Shore. 1996, complex and difficult works in the context of my own family, where the ethical encounter - permission to film and circulate private images into the public domain is a mine field more now than when I made either film. Death and the image..I sense danger...yet last night I couldn't explain what I wasn't a criticism of Chrigu, not at I sense the film is a gift, too, from this young creative filmmaker taken too soon by death at his door...and his friend and co-director Jan, who carries this burning camera/projector around with him screening this film.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Voices of Resistance

Voices of Resistance - Northern Territory Traditional Owners Speaking Out
“The link [between Howard’s plan for a nuclear waste dump in the NT and the military intervention] is unbreakable. Because we have stood up so strongly saying we didn’t want a waste dump. We have stood up strongly again against uranium mining. We have strongly said no to both issues. I think this is Mr Howard’s way of saying ‘we’ve gotta put those blackfellas back in their place, we have to take their land away from them, we’ve got to demoralise them, we have to break their self esteem, we have to break any connection they have with their lands by taking through leases. It’s time now, it’s time to bring the Aboriginal communities into town. It’s time to be a political force.” In Alice Springs, hundreds of people attended the rally to mark the beginning of the fiftieth anniversary of the National Aboriginal Islander Day of Celebration (NAIDOC).
from Mitch, an Eastern Arrernte and Luritja woman, from the Engawala community (Harts Range, east of Alice Springs), posted on intercontinental 13.8.07

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

her words are taken by the wind

"We’re in Truganini’s country. She cries, my sister. I forget to turn on the microphone. Her words are taken by the wind. But it’s not guilt or moral outrage. It’s sadness at the trauma of what happened here. There’s a wound in the coloniser’s mind. We have to go there, open to other possibilities: land rights, treaty and a deep connection to country and other ways of remembering. Truganini, then, not a victim of our white guilt, but Truganini a survivor of depth and complexity." Narration extract from Island Home Country, my documentary film in post production, 2007.

She had the longest funeral in the history of the world. From the time of her physical death in 1876 to her cremation in 1976, it took a hundred years. Not that she wished it that way, but others thought her to be so important that they could not let her depart this life until they had finished with her. Andrys Onsman, Truganini's Funeral, Island No. 96.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

"we hope to fly out of the United Kingdom with our ancestors in our possession," Aboriginal negotiator Caroline Spotswood

Members of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community have been fighting to have their ancestor's remains returned from both local and international museums since the 1980s. Aboriginal elders in February won a court injunction stopping a series of DNA and imaging tests on the remains by Britain's Natural History Museum, which holds the remains. The bones of 13 Tasmanian Aborigines held for more than 100 years at a British museum will be sent home within days, ending a two-decade fight for their return...The bones were taken without permission in the 1880s in a case which has been called "Australia's Elgin marbles", a reference to the row between Britain and Greece over Parthenon sculptures held in the British Museum in London.
SMH May 11 2007

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

on commemoration and super/vision

In this fourth year of the doctoral process - scholarship ending September - yet the film's fine cut, sound post and thesis still to come, it is time to make a commemoration; not at the end when I finish, but right now in the thick of things.
To my partner, Stephen, for his acceptance, so steadfast.
To my principal supervisor Sarah Gibson. Sarah, you hold the space for an inner process to take place with a creative work; the Jungians call it soul work, and that's the level on which we work together. Thankyou for providing that space for me in here at UTS; without you I couldn't have come thus far with the film.
To Toula Anastas, your smile, open heart and intuitive understanding of the creative process, translated into the complex machinery of film and digital media, makes the whole process heartening; you listen and give back; you inspire and demonstrate the patience and endurance required to deliver works such as these.
To Karen Pearlman, the film's editor, for lightness and insight in the edit process.
To my daughter, step daughter and grandchild - for their love.
To Dr.S. For thirty years of reading together and for the distinct possibility of celebration.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


Last night I found myself in a back street of Sydney I had not visited since the late 70s.I had a direct experience of the uncanny.
like falling between reality and unreality; of being in a landscape both familiar, yet as if in a dream; a corridor in my mind opened up to that historical period , as if right there in the dark on that fragment of earth, the space opened up and the line between past and present dissolved. I was at the Rozelle Psychiatric Hospital site. And then the images in Kenneth Loach's startling 1972 film Family Life ran through my internal projector along with experiences that led to a long alliance with filmmaking and psychoanalysis .

Sunday, May 6, 2007

there shall be no mourning

Derrida in The Work of Mourning (2001) ruminates on Lyotard's injunction, "there shall be no mourning...It could be said that this spectral echo roams about like a thief of the Apocalypse; it expires in the exhalation of this phrase, comes back to haunt our reading, respires or breathes in advance...and that is why whoever thus works at the work of mourning learns the impossible--and that mourning is interminable. Inconsolable. Irreconcilable."

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Giving an Account of Oneself

Approaching Jericho, Tasmania. Photo by Stephen Ginsborg
I am at an impasse with the edit of the film and the re-write of the edit script. Co-supervisor Katrina Schlunke, looked at the edit and raised tricky questions about narrative certainty:
1. For a postcolonial text the film/me has too much authority
2. She wants a more sophisticated take on who I am
3. I maintain the centre...I need to lose it
4. More of the process of making it...the difficult spaces; the intractability
5. The ongoing force of Indigenous sovereignty - where is it?
6. She interrogated my use of the words amnesia, mourning
7. She said 'reading' a film text was hard for her...not like reading a written work
8. She said perhaps non-Indigenous Australia has a very persistent and creative and pervasive practice of forgetting that works through 'knowing' - that its styles and sets of knowledges that have arisen through western enlightenment etc but have been honed through the process of colonisation.

It sent me back to reading philospher Judith Butler's, Giving an Account of Oneself . How to translate into images:
Since I cannot tell the story in a straight line, and I lose my thread, and I start again, and I forget something crucial, and it is to hard to think about how to weave it in, and I start thinking, thinking, there must be some conceptual thread that will provide a narrative here, some lost link, some possibility for chronology, and the "I" becomes increasingly conceptual, increasingly awake, focused, determined, it is at this point that the thread must fall apart. The "I" who narrates finds that it cannot direct its narration, finds that it cannot give an account of its inability to narrate, why its narration breaks down, and so it comes to experience itself, or, rather, re-experience itself, as radically, if not irretrievably, unknowing about who it is... The "I" is breaking down...It does not know itself, and perhaps it never will. But is that the task, to know itself, to achieve an adequate narrative account of a life? And should it be? Is the task to cover over the breakage, the rupture, which is constitutive of the "I" through a narrative means that quite forcefully binds the elements together in a narration that is enacted as if it were perfectly possible, as if the break could be mended and defensive mastery restored?" Judith Butler, Diacritics 31.4 (2001) 22-40

So my attempt to confront cultural amnesia and the repression of the violent face of colonisation in Tasmania has become an enactment of defensive mastery? Yet another colonial gesture disguised as reparation?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Aboriginal servicemen and women in separate Anzac Day march

Well, Robert Manne, just a few months after your Turkish Tale on Anzac Day lecture there is a wind in the air. Perhaps it is happening - holding together the memory of Gallipoli along with honouring those Aboriginal fighters who died on the frontier protecting their country. There were no marching bands or Australian flags when Indigenous Diggers march set out from the Block in Redfern yesterday. Sydney's first indigenous Anzac Day parade - proudly decked in black, red and gold - set off to the accompaniment of a single didgeridoo. The 500 marchers were led by about 15 veterans. Then a service was held at St Saviour's Church to commemorate the fallen.
In Canberra, ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope is being urged to consider a commemorative day for Canberra's Indigenous groups who died at the time of European settlement. ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Centre spokeswoman Ann Jackson-Nakano says an ANZAC-type day should be established, and a monument erected to recognise Aborigines who died during European settlement and during the settlement of the Canberra region. She says at this stage it is only a suggestion, but she says it is something that Canberrans should consider. "I'm not meaning in any way, shape or form to disrespect the ANZACS," she said. "I'm just saying that, you know, we celebrate this day every year, and I don't see why we couldn't sort of move back a bit." She says there should be a monument recognising the plight of the Indigenous people. "The Australians are a very enlightened people, so I think it's time to demonstrate in real terms the way Australians themselves stand on this issue, and hopefully also the leaders," she said.

A Turkish Tale on Anzac Day

photo source: The Heritage of the Great War.

I just heard Robert Manne speaking on the Armenian Genocide
"despite the fact that the Armenian Genocide was one of the great crimes of history; despite the fact that it took place on Ottoman soil during the precise months of the Dardanelles campaign; despite the fact that that campaign is regarded as the moment when the Australian nation was born, so far as I can tell, in the vast Gallipoli canon, not one Australian historian has devoted more than a passing page or paragraph to the relationship, or even the mere coincidence, of the two events...
Ernest Renan once argued that an act of forgetting can be discovered in the foundation of all nations. Sigmund Freud agreed: "It is universally admitted that in the origin of the traditions and folklore of a people care must be taken to remove from the memory such a motive as would be painful to the national feeling.” According to Renan and Freud, all countries seem to feel the need for a noble myth of origin from which dark deeds and moral ambiguities have been erased."
What a relief to hear some analysis, some thinking that digs into the layers of this day of mourning and expand ideas about the character of the nation:
whether or not we can learn, without flinching, to hold the memories of the triumph of Gallipoli and and the tragedy of the Dispossession (of Aboriginal Australia) together in our minds.
Australia and Turkey: Uncomfortable Thoughts on Gallipoli and the Armenian Genocide' by Robert Manne, Professor of Politics. La Trobe University

Monday, April 23, 2007

Race wars written out of Australian history

What has this photograph got to do with race wars and Australian History? It's a photograph of my grandmother in 1921 on her wedding day. Pa, my grandfather was just back from the war fields of France. Historians Henry Reynolds and Lyndall Ryan woke me up to another story, another war in Tasmania, where I was born. These race wars were a secret during my entire childhood in the 1950s and into the 1980s. So I began this research project and film - to find out how could I grow up in Tasmania and know nothing of the race wars? And now that I know something what am I going to do about it?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

maralinga - a strange colour in the sky

A few years ago I worked as a researcher on a documentary series about Australia and war; in the script there was a sequence set in the 1950s on the setting up of Woomera in preparation for the British Tests. I did a lot of research, including extensive research into the impact of the tests on the Yankunytjatjara, Antikarinya, Kokatha, Pitjantjatara and Yalata communities, the traditional owners. None of this research was used in the series. This response made me determined to at least name what happened there in this documentary ISLAND HOME COUNTRY. The tests represented another phase of the further colonisation of Australia by Britain.

Several weeks ago SBS news did an item on an anniversary of Woomera - and once again- no mention of the traditional owners. As if they don't exist. SBS is a national broadcaster. I am still amazed that they can make a news item that is so ignorant. It makes me more determined to show it in the film. I heard about the Oak Valley Community cultural project. The older men and women of the community said they wanted to paint the story of the land including the history of the tests and the fight for reclamation. This article says that "in the minds of many Australians still, the most prevalent image of Maralinga is of a mushroom cloud, while the community lives in the Great Victoria Desert, a land of immense beauty and incredible bio-diversity." This is interesting as so often Maralinga is represented by the atomic explosion images. I have now located some of the paintings by Jonathan Kumintjarra Brown and they are full of life in the face of death.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

to the other shore - gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi svaha.

Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate: gone, gone, gone to the other shore, svaha. I named my last film To the Other Shore after Buddha's great mantra: Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi svaha: Gone Gone to the other shore, gone together to the other shore. Oh awakening! The making of To The Other Shore was accepting death as part of life. In the various phases of making the film over ten years (1986-1996) there were many deaths: parents, parents in law and not least - the death of the script. To live as if there is no script - in a state of freedom - that is the challenge, as the great heart sutra suggests.
Here are details on where to purchase copies of the film and the Study Guide to To the Other Shore . Photo by Sandy Edwards

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Baudrillard dies March 6 2007

"THE French critic Jean Baudrillard, whose theories about consumer culture and the manufactured nature of reality were intensely discussed in philosophical circles and in blockbuster movies such as The Matrix, has died aged 77."
His thinking influenced my work in film; the way he made sense of this era of media saturation - what happens to reality - this 'hyperreal', which he speaks of, where the image is all we have. His death followed a long illness.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

protocols process

Woggan-mugule Dawn Ceremony, Doonooch Dancers and Garrabarra Dance Company 2005

What are Indigenous protocols? How do non Indigenous artists, filmmakers and wrtiters work with them? How am I working with them in this film? I am discovering that with each image, each frame - there is a story behind the image: a story of relationship, of encounter; there are perhaps letters, emails, phone calls, face to face contact; each moment, each frame varies. Yet there is 'bedrock' at the basis of it all - and that is this question: how do we come into country the proper way?

Frances Peters Little, discusses some of the issues in: The Impossibility Of Pleasing Everybody: A Legitimate Role For White Filmmakers Making Black Films first published in Art Monthly May 2002.
"With the advent of stringent policy and ethical guidelines written to protect Aboriginal communities from potentially harmful effects of wide public exposure, communities have become diligent about taking back as much as they have given outsiders who wish to appropriate Aboriginal intellectual and cultural knowledge and property. Film crews, black or white, are required to adhere to the principle that one must benefit the community as a form of exchange. This becomes problematic is when black or white film crews are left deciding who is the community and how should they be benefiting them. Defining what benefits a community is not straightforward, and the guidelines provide little help on this issue. Generally the notion of giving back to a community assumes that film crews ask the community to suggest how their film can provide a practical outcome for that community. Independent filmmakers offer anything from shares in their production to having their films used as evidence in native title claims. It is not unusual for filmmakers to contribute to community organisations or individuals in the form of cash payment."

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

'My Freud' in Psychoanalysis Downunder, May 2006

Genevieve Cseh, digital art work 2003
What is the "historical dimension of being together in pain" here in Australia? I am thinking about this in terms of the long term affect/effect of British colonisation here. This paper by psychoanalyst Shahid Najeeb stirs thoughts and feelings about this pain. I am trying to explore it in this film ISLAND HOME COUNTRY. The affect - in the body of the film - of this pain we share, both colonised and colonisers. " We come to understand deeply, in a way that cannot be dismissed, that all human beings are made of the same substance, sharing the same desires, hopes and ambitions and suffering the same pangs of longing, anxiety, terror and despair". "My Freud" by Shahid Najeeb

Monday, February 26, 2007

deep water spirit waiting: meenamatta water country discussion: Jonathan Kimberley & pura-lia meenamatta (Jim Everett) Bett Gallery, Hobart

I have just been back to Tasmania to film with Jim Everett and Aunty Phyllis Pitchford; also to visit family, discuss the film and see how they feel about it. Only two days ago I was swimming in the ocean at Bruny Island...the water, the light and the air so clear! Today I am back at UTS and have just dubbed masters of the filming; so many images and feelings as I journey between family and community, Aboriginal Tasmanians and newcomer Australians, city and bush and present day realities juxtaposed against 210 years of colonisation and a 40,000 year old culture - living. Jim Everett brings the conversation to water - often and the writing painting discussion he and Jonathan Kimberley held at the Bett Gallery in Hobart in 2006.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Ashis Nandy: MANAS website UCLA

"Ashis Nandy is a political psychologist and sociologist of science who works at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi, India. He has worked on cultures of knowledge, visions, and dialogue of civilizations.
Phillip Darby introduces him thus for Overland Magazine: "You might well ask who is Ashis Nandy? And why should his thinking matter to Australians? What relevance has this Indian pundit to our concerns? For those not familiar with the man or his work, he is an original and vigorously independent thinker, with a taste for the unorthodox. He is best known for his writing on colonialism but in recent years he has come to be acknowledged as one of the founding figures of postcolonial studies. He is also India’s foremost public intellectual."
Ashis Nandy: MANAS website UCLA
Ashis Nandy Wikipedia

The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism. Delhi: Oxford UP, 1983. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1988.
"The discussion here is of the psychological problems posed at a personal level by colonialism, for both colonizer and colonized. . . . The bulk of this book concerns British colonialism in India. . . . Nandy argues that gender issues became intertwined with those of race, class, and religion under colonialism, and that the Gandhian movement can be understood in part as an attempt to transcend a strong tendency of educated Indians to articulate political striving for independence in European terms." Ashis Nandy biography essays links

Professor Nandy was a guest at UTS Key University Research Centre in Communication and Culture, Trans/forming Cultures in 2006 Some of us post graduate students presented our projects to him for discussion. I presented on this film project and the complex issues around Tasmania and colonial violence. I remember him responding with a discussion on 'the eerie silence' around the violence of partition in India in 1947.
mp3 of lecture: The Return of the Sacred, the Language of Religion and the Fear of Democracy in a Post-Secular World

Friday, February 16, 2007

A soldier of the Australian Light Horse Brigade gathers anemones

Palestine, 1918, Frank Hurley, official Australian war photographer. Wikimedia®
This photo makes me think of my Pa, Tom Butcher, who was a Gunner in World War 1. His asthma was really bad when he came back from the front. Some said it was the mustard gas. He died of an asthma attack early one morning in Invermay, Launceston Tasmania. I asked my Auntie about it the other morning: what did she remember? "I heard Mum screaming," she said. The radio was on... the news... 1956... the Hungarian uprising. He had fallen out of bed in the night. He was on the floor."

I am struck by the sharpness of her memory: the way the news broadcast stayed in her mind and located his death in historical time, in public history - and strangely in another violent armed struggle of European history...down here in Tassie, so close to the south pole, so far away from 'the centre'.

As I prepare for return to Tasmania for the next phase of the film: Aboriginal protocols, filming with elders from the community, my own family permissions...dialogue exchange - I think about historian Henry Reynolds and Ken Inglis's work who do we mourn in Australian history
in the public ceremonies? Reynolds asks why we don’t honour Aboriginal deaths in the frontier wars of the 19th and 20th centuries; Henry Reynolds: "If we make the centrepiece of our celebration, our invasion of Turkey, a country we knew nothing about and had no direct experience with, I can’t see why we can’t come to terms with our invasion of Australia...Now, if remembering deaths is important, then we have to do something to show we take their deaths as seriously as we take our own."

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Keeping Culture: Aboriginal Tasmania

This new book Keeping Culture (a collaboration between Aboriginal Tasmanian artists and the National Museum of Australia edited by Amanda Jane Reynolds) has had a big impact on my thinking about the film - especially Jim Everett's essay: This is Manalargenna Country: Clan Country of a First Nation and his exploration of the mind/body/spirit that moves moving beyond the colonial construct: "We walked the country, talked about it and brought together the threads of our being with it all: the place, history and people...the experience of what I call All, of being related to everything there, with responsibilities and acceptance of our role as humans living beyond the colonial construct."
Jim's activism spans decades. This 21st century phase is especially relevant as he articulates Aboriginal philosophy: it's as if he is providing a map, a synthesis of years political action with a profound caring of country. Four Corners Interview ABC 2002.

I am re-reading Ashis Nandy's Exiled at Home: these 1970-72 essays where Nandy examines "Indian political consciousness and- I cannot avoid the expression- unconsciousness. Being directly concerned with the relationship between the private and the public in politics."
Nandy and Everett - post colonial thinkers - come together in my mind as this film evolves its shape, content and form - the technical realities of the filmmaking process - reverberate, stretch to encompass these ideas and bring them forth in images, text and music.

Seven Hours to Burn

Written, directed and edited by Shanti Thakur 1999, experimental documentary,9 minutes, color/b&w.
"Impressionistic cinematography is juxtaposed with searing archival images while spare narration combines with a nuanced sound design. The viewer is swept into the mood of the piece and must consider the long-lasting effects-both internal and external-of conflict and change." Kristine Samuelson, Stanford University
This 9 minute film Seven Hours to Burn is sublime..what Thakur achieves in 9 minutes is extraordinary!

Howard urged to stop museum testing Indigenous remains

I woke up to the repatriation debate on ABC AM yesterday."Last year in a landmark decision, Britain's Natural History Museum agreed to return the remains of 17 Indigenous Tasmanians. But before sending the remains back to Australia, the Museum wanted to collect scientific data. That sparked an angry outcry from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, and it's now fighting the Museum in the High Court in London". (ABC AM web site)
I am always struck by the great resilence and fighting spirit of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and the way they keep chipping away at the ongoing legacies of colonial rule. They are warriors and I admire them!

The rough cut of the film has a sequence on repatriation...originally I had used a photograph of a shelf of skulls (from the British Museum); you would think I would know how inappropriate that of the Tasmanian readers of a much earlier edit was offended and warned against using it. I had no problem taking it out; what interests me is how could I have edited it in? I we replaced the image with was a breakthrough to working with images of fire and water.

An insightful essay on death and ceremony is by Tasmanian Aboriginal writer/thinker/educator Greg Lehman, Trawulway People, Nth East Tasmania. Lehman says: To pay respect and honour to the spirits of the Old Ones after so many years of desecration and indignity is our most important obligation." ‘Life’s Quiet Companion’, Island, (no.69, 1996, p.60). So now in this draft edit we have Lehman's words over the image of water....

Monday, February 12, 2007

The third anniversary of the death of Aboriginal teenager TJ Hickey will be on February 14.

The third anniversary. In memoriam: TJ was impaled on a metal fence while being chased by Redfern police. Had police followed proper medical practices, it is likely that TJ would have survived.

I filmed at the TJ Hickey Rally in 2005 and have included some footage of Sam Watson in the rough cut.. Sam has been down the last 2 weeks re Black Deaths in Custody. I think it should be in the film and am trying to meet up with Sam, get his permission and film some more re: Mulrunji, Hickey, Deaths in Custody : putting it into an overview historical perspective colonisation 21st century. I couldn't get to the start of the Rally, but have just got back from Goulburn Police Sation in the city. I hung around for a while and then went looking for the March. No sight of them!

The Experimental Practice of History

photo: Jeni Thornley (director) Erika Addis (cinematographer) Pat Fiske (sound recordist) Moya Iceton (supervising producer) on location To the Other Shore 1996. Photo: Sandy Edwards "Jeni Thornley's personal films, Maidens and To the Other Shore, and her collaborative social action documentaries, (A Film for Discussion, with Martha Ansara & Sydney Women's Film Group and For Love or Moneywith McMurchy, Nash and Oliver) are land mark films in the history of Australian feminist cinema over the last three decades. Although these genres of activist cinema fell out of favour in the 1980s, Meaghan Morris's articulation of feminism as an "experimental practice of history" has opened up a space for re-reading Thornley's films.

As an editing bench filmmaker, Thornley reworks existing photographic and archival footage to reconstruct her own history and to investigate second wave feminism as a crisis of female subjectivity. This article is part of a larger project which draws on contemporary readings of Walter Benjamin's materialist practice of history to rethink the registers of history, memory and narrativity in autobiographical films." Felicity Collins, The Experimental Practice of History in the Film Work of Jeni Thornley, Screening the Past, Latrobe University, 1998

Memory in Ruins: remembering, repeating and working through

Anne Tenney in To the Other Shore 1996 (photo: Sandy Edwards).
"To the Other Shore" is a work of mourning. "It completes a project of feminist filmmaking by articulating feminism’s primal scene themes in relation to the father and his cinema. The starting point...for a reading of "To the Other Shore" as feminism’s ‘optical unconscious’ is Susannah Radstone’s distinction between reciprocal memory films and nostalgic history films. By rethinking the figure of the filmmaker/spectator in terms of a reciprocal, maternal look this article argues that To the Other Shore reveals the obstacles to a maternal gaze within feminist cinema." Felicity Collins, Screening the Past, Latrobe University, December 2001.

"To the Other Shore" is made from inside the therapuetic encounter and reflects the process of psychoanalysis written about by Freud in his 1914 paper Remembering, Repeating and Working Through. The film took me ten years to make; I began it in 1985 when my daughter was born and I completed the film in 1996 when she was ten. During that time my parents died and my partner's parents died, too. The film evolved into "a work of mourning" as well as a diary film about being a mother. "To the Other Shore" is often used by community groups in their work with mothers and new babies -see this link for details re purchasing copies.

Respecting Cultures, Working with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community and Aboriginal Artists

photo: family farmhouse in the Midlands: "we grew up behind a hedge, keeping history out". What happens when you bring history inside - when you wake up to 'deep history' ? I am going back to Tassie next week (22.2.07) to do more filming, visit family and meet with TALSC The Tasmanian Land & Sea Council to discuss the rough cut DVD and how its going with respect to protocols. There are 9 protocols in "Respecting Cultures"(p20-24). The following 4 are most relevant to Island Home Country.

The key to approaching the application of appropriate protocols is
respect. Consider how this is established in a project or proposal.
Finding the correct way for a project to be achieved with respect
for the people being represented or involved as artists will lead
towards a better approach to understanding the cultural sensitivities
within the Tasmanian Aboriginal community.

Consultation and Consent
Have you received written agreement for the project?
Sufficient time should be allocated for consultation and responses.
Permission needs to be obtained prior to use of stories, images or
creations that might infringe on artists’ and communities’ ownership
or copyright. An agreement outlining the conditions of consent
must be obtained from the owner(s), custodians or Aboriginal
community-based organisations for projects to be initially considered
and progressed

Does your nominated Aboriginal community member have the
authority to speak for, or on behalf of, the project proposal?
Does your nominated Aboriginal community member have the
authority to speak for, or on behalf of, the project proposal?
Consultation needs to occur prior to the development of projects
with Aboriginal content. Projects involving Aboriginal cultural
expression must be negotiated with the owner(s) or Aboriginal
community-based organisations, as appropriate. It is important to
locate the most relevant Aboriginal community-based organisation.
The organisation should be formally recognised by other established
Aboriginal community-based organisations.

Proper Returns
Have you considered ways in which the Tasmanian Aboriginal
community can benefit from the use of their material?
Issues of copyright, royalties and fees need to be discussed from
the beginning of the project, including informing the Aboriginal
community and Aboriginal artists of the potential for commercial

Sunday, February 11, 2007


A documentary film in post production. This is the phase of the project right now and it's challenging; well, for a start it has its own timing; you can't push it; you have to wait...I've sent 30 draft rough cut DVD's (running time 52 mins approx) to people I have filmed with or communities whose country is involved in the film and so the final edit the film waits till further responses.
The key protocol document for Tasmania is Respecting Cultures, Working with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community and Aboriginal Artists".

More later on this.....