The days are long, the heat is oppressive. Dinners run into the dark of night as it’s too hot to eat earlier, days start early in order to beat the heat. There’s a lethargy that hangs over summertime, damping the mood to do anything much except stay cool.
This time of year in Dubbo and across the region that is the Western Plains of NSW, temperatures often peak at around 42 degrees C. However, this year we’ve had sustained days of temps well above 40, up to 45 and higher in some places further west. Even our solar passive, eco-friendly house struggles with the week-long heat waves that started way too early this summer.
So, it is that this is my least creative time of the year. I used to say least productive, but I’ve come to realise it isn’t all about output. There’s thinking time required in creativity and this is the time of year when I do a lot of thinking…it’s too goddamn hot to do much else. As I sit outside trying to catch a cool breeze, gazing upon another spectacular crimson-hued dusk, my mind turns to the plans for the year.
This summer I’ve also had the opportunity to reflect on my time at the Fire Station Arts Centre and my residency there as I prepared a 900 word editorial for the Griffith Review. I’m not sure if it’ll be published yet – it’s for an edition on Cultural Solutions later in the year. However, working through different versions of my story allowed me to spend valuable time reflecting on just what happened when I was in that space for three months. It has since made me think a bit differently about what residencies are about and what having my own ‘isolated’ studio space will mean for me as the year unfolds.
So, when my new studio is ready for me to inhabit sometime in the next few months, I’m hoping it’ll become my thinking space…a pod of solitude in which to spend more time on my ideas rather than trying to simply do something for the sake of production and simply meeting deadlines. I’ll keep you posted on how that pans out!
I’ve got a few things to start thinking about including an opportunity to work with some senior high school art students this year on contemporary, conceptual art practice. Coming on the back of last year’s mail art exchange with middle year kids, this is an exciting development. The other thing I need to get started on is a change in direction for my Cementa 15 work. It’s going to require a few planned photo shoots and packets and packets of Polaroid film. Again, I’ll keep you posted as things get back into gear in the studio.
In the meantime, I’m spending the next couple of weeks enjoying time with my family and looking after myself before the year becomes familiarly crazy.