New Glass 2015
Archaeology, Excavation and the Arcane

In May 2015 I was commissioned to write a poem for the exhibition New Glass 2015: Archaeology, Excavation and the Arcane. The exhibition, curated by Glassworks Artistic Director Magda Keaney, celebrated the centenary of the Kingston Powerhouse building which houses the Canberra Glassworks. The exhibition showcased Australian Glassmakers Lucy Quinn (QLD), Nick Adams (ACT), Georgina Cockshott (VIC), Lea Douglas (ACT), Ngaio Fitzpatrick (ACT) and Alex Valero (SA). Part of the commission was also to perform the new work at the exhibition opening and the Glass 2015: Winter Glass Market. 

Staircase image, Ngaio Fitzpatrick, 2015.
In developing my response to the exhibition I delved into the online presence of each artist involved, including past works, but focussed on their preparation for the coming exhibition. In keeping with the concepts of archaeology, excavation and the arcane I re-examined some literary works I’d recently read to find ideas analogous to the exhibition. The resulting poem, Archaeology, excavation, arcane & dads examines the exhibition from the perspective of an explorer, a character who identifies and enters ruins of the past, present and future; venturing into unknown and dangerous territory for potential reward. 

One work central to this was the 2012 edition of Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, translated by Olena Bormashenko. This science fiction novel follows the personal impact of interaction with items of unknown intention and power, particular the risk of efforts to find, test, categorise and use these mysterious items. 

Components, Lucy Quinn. Photo: Michael Condon, Lucid Media
You can read the poem as part of the exhibition’s online catalogue which also includes the essay by Ellis Hutch, which won the inaugural New Glass 2015 Writing Competition.