Paul Carter
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Flow paths
Topologies of coexistence
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Migrant sense of place radiates from the concrete site of first encounter. Material thinking, the signature of my creative practice, also extrapolates from the particular. These related propositions fuse in a discussion of a major wall work, Rival Channels, commissioned for downtown Brisbane. Features of Rival Channels accurately depict the inner landscape of migration, which is not linear but involuted. The turbulent flow paths modelled in the stone relief tap into an environmental unconscious – in my case associated with oolitic Cotswold stone whose turbulent history is amplified and glorified in the Kimberley sandstone of Rival Channels – but identified in Central Australian Aboriginal art with periodic inundation and its depiction. Staging the turbulence of coexistence (like another river work, Mirror States), Rival Channels evokes a primary environment where signs are ambiguously auditory and eidetic –the inclusion of a sonogram alludes to the totemic custodianship of the site (the Brisbane River) and my words allude to change as return: ‘The strings of shadow creep / underneath where I keep my eggs the water laps / it is rising like the future under the present.’

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Translations, an autoethnography

Migration, colonial Australia and the creative encounter


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