on Secret Places Secret Places
was originally a multi-media installation project, consisting of artwork,
and text, in which I collaborated with Sieglinde Karl (artwork) Ron
Nagorcka (music), Kate Hamilton (photography) and graphic designer Lynda Warner.
It was exhibited in art galleries in Hobart, Launceston, Wagga Wagga and Melbourne,
Australia, and was accompanied by a publication. It appears here in a new
form designed for the web.
The central focus of
the installation was a larger-than-life figure of a woman made by Sieglinde
Karl from the needles of the native Australian Casuarina tree. In my text
I responded to
the "Casuarina woman" by turning casuarina into the name of a person. She
is not a "character" in the normal sense but consists of multiple projections
and Cathy) who engage the mythic, the erotic and the parodic, and can
be viewed either as the same person or as different people.
I was also interested
in making connections between the casuarina woman and two other
stories which had inspired me. The first was a newspaper article in the Sydney
(Sunday February 11th 1995) : Siberia's ice-maiden returns from her
ancient pastures of heaven, which refers to the discovery of a woman,
2,500 years old,
whose tattooed body was preserved because water trickled into her tomb and
froze her. There are a number of oblique references to the Herald article
in my text. These
include a reference to the red-wax sealed door of the laboratory where the
ice-maiden's body was being treated. Red seal (as the article mentions) was
also to be found,
in the Stalinist era, on the doors of the homes of purge victims who were
taken away in the
middle of the night by the secret police.
The second story
was one I heard told on the television by a survivor of the
things about the story fascinated me, not only the woman's survival against
all odds, and her resurrection from near-death, but also her desire to go
on living even
though her entire family (including her daughter) had been killed in front
As I began to connect
these stories I found myself moving between different points in the
past and present, different locations, and different voices. Ideas sparked
other ideas and
many new relationships developed. So the "blood red door" is juxtaposed with
the doors of the local school in Yuendumu, an Aboriginal community in central
I visited briefly in 1995. These doors were decorated with Aboriginal paintings
of the dreamings as part of a collective project in the early 1980s and are
documented in Warlukurlangu
Artists, Yuendumu Doors, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra,
1992. When I saw the paintings they were overlaid with graffiti, though parts
of the original paintings could still be seen. (They can now be viewed in
the South Australian
Art Gallery in Adelaide: the graffiti have been removed).
Throughout the piece
I wished to intertwine a number of psychological, historical and geographical
realities, and negotiate some of the concealed aspects of mind and body,
the secret places.
Hazel Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org)
was born in England and lived there until 1989, but now lives in Sydney
She works in the areas of poetry, experimental writing, performance, multi
media and hypertext.
Hazel has published in numerous poetry magazines, literary journals
and web-journals, andher work is represented in several anthologies.
Her book Abstractly
Represented: Poems and Performance Texts 1982-90 was published
by Butterfly Books in 1991. Two CDs of her performance work Poet Without
Language with austraLYSIS, and Nuraghic Echoes (in collaboration
Dean), were released by Rufus Records, Sydney, in 1994 and 1996 respectively.
A number of her collaborative hypermedia works are available on CD Rom,
or on the World Wide Web, including Walking The Faultlines, (with
which is featured on Cyberquilt: A CD- Rom Anthology, International
Association, San Francisco, and Wordstuffs: the City and the Body,
(with Roger Dean and Greg White), commissioned by the Australian Film
and available at www.stuff-art.abc.net.au/stuff98/10.htm. Her new volume
of poems, short prose and performance texts, Keys Round Her Tongue,
will be published
by Monogene this year.
Hazel is a Senior Lecturer
in the School of English, University of New South Wales and
is co-author with Roger Dean of the book Improvisation, Hypermedia And
Since 1945 published by Harwood Academic in 1997. Her book Hyperscapes
in the Poetry of Frank O'Hara: difference, homosexuality, topography
is to be published by Liverpool University Press in 2000. Hazel has also
been an internationally
active violinist and features as soloist on several commercial recordings.
Sieglinde Karl Sieglinde
Karl (born 1943) spent her childhood years in Germany before emigrating
in 1953. After extensive periods living in Germany
and England, she now works
in Launceston, Tasmania, Australia.Sieglinde
graduated as a jeweller from Middlesex
Polytechnic, London, in 1978.
Since the late 1980s, her practice has focused
on installation and performance,
involving works of a site-specific and/or transitory
predominantly found natural materials. She has collaborated on various
projects with Hazel Smith, as well as musicians, dancers and other
Her work has been widely exhibited, collected and published
in many parts of the
Karl, l9 Denman Road, Launceston, Tasmania, 7250. Australia