a still image of the animation Boundary Keeper by Bonemap 2021


A group exhibition at NorthSite Contemporary Arts

Anthropocene /ˈanθrəpəˌsiːn/ The age of wo/man - or the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.

NorthSite curatorial statement

During this time of global disruption, a network of seismometers that constantly register sound and oscillations, are recording a new quiet as the hum of daily life has abated. We are living in the midst of a new normal. A solidarity to contain a pandemic, one that highlights our networks and interconnectedness. The silver lining is that as the world slows, we hear the sky in large cities from Beijing to Bogota has cleared to shades of far north blue, and the waters of the Ganga and the Grand Canal have rapidly improved. Wild animals are venturing onto empty streets all around the world! So as viral microorganisms latch on to human hosts and biodiversity planetary crisis continues to confront us, the novel coronavirus pandemic is highlighting vast inequalities across societies and visibly showing us positive and negative affects of human impact on the Earth in accelerated time.

In these days we hear more terms like ‘relocalisation’, ‘grassroots revolution’, ‘Indigenous reassertion’, ‘eco-feminsim’, ‘degrowth’, ‘postcovid’, ‘postactivism’ and ‘neoliberalism’, ‘capitalism’, alongside ‘living wage’, ‘social distancing’, ‘the curve’, ‘now sight’, ‘self-isolation’. Our vernacular is shifting too. Death, fears, positivity, work drying up, working from home, family, isolation, changes, essential, non-essential, online learning, empathy, vulnerability, grief, humour, gardening. It’s noisy. This affects each of us in different ways.

Our values are reevaluated and reconsidered.

We mourn loss and changes to everyday life and thank frontline workers. It’s a phenomenonal time. We are reminded of our vulnerabilities and that each of us contributes to an interwoven local and global tapestry. Actions and feelings are amplified. It’s complex. It’s current. It’s public, it’s private. It’s health. It’s the economy. It’s globalisation in 2020.

artist statement

The coronavirus, often referred to as invisible, produces novel precautions and ways of demarcating our lives. Our worlds, at least the way we function in the human environment, has been changed, and we face an uncertain future. The animation represents a Boundary Keeper who dances at the threshold of what is known and unknown. Creativity can be used as a bridge to the unseen. It provides a path to recovery. It is said that art ventures into mysticism when we speak of ‘unknowing’. If we visualise the ‘unknown’ as a place, a territory, then transcending the boundaries of what we think of as 'knowledge' is the only way to inhabit its spaces. Great artists are great innovators because they play so close to the threshold of a knowledge boundary. These ideas of creative mystery have been with us since the 13th Century with commentaries by theologians like Meister Eckhart and Nicholas de Cusa; they called it ‘learned ignorance’.

This work has used low resolution motion capture of the dancer, Rebecca Youdell, to animate a threshold creature and the shadow figures beyond. Its sound, developed from field recordings, are collected from the Savannah country of Far North Queensland.

Bonemap: Russell Milledge and Rebecca Youdell

NorthSite Contemporary Arts

additional information and works:
low resolution motion capture

video documentation: