Lead, table, lead stool, glass, steel, vinyl text, ink, 1962 edition of Henry Savery's Quintus Servinton, sound track (voice of Jeff Blake)
Separate Prison Chapel, Port Arthur
Port Arthur Project, Ten Days on the Island, 2007
This is a two part installation and performance that aims to retrospectively free the soul of Australia's first novelist, Henry Savery, who was transported to Van Diemen's land for forgery in 1825 and is buried on Port Arthur's Isle of the Dead. The quote(John 8:32) references the liberating power of revelation while the use of lead, which covers the chair and stool, recalls the mysticism and transformative powers of alchemy and its claim to convert base metal into gold.
A daily writing performance was carried out in Port Arthur's Separate Prison Chapel. For 2 hours a day, I sat at the lead table and systematically wrote the wordsover the pages of Henry Savery's largely autobiographical novel. Each overwritten page was torn from the book and dropped to the floor, metaphorically releasing Savery from the bindings of his tragic past. The work was accompanied by a continuous recording of excerpts from the novel.
An accompanying installation was sited on the Isle of the Dead, in front of Savery's memorial. It consisted of lead text buried into the ground, that spells out the words