Arts’ poetry in motion

Do not go gentle: Erin McCuskey and Christine Tammer work out concepts for their upcoming White Night projection. Picture: Amber Wilson

Do not go gentle: Erin McCuskey and Christine Tammer work out concepts for their upcoming White Night projection. Picture: Amber Wilson

Two of Ballarat’s most compelling artists are about to transform the powerful words of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas into vision, music, and a compelling feminist narrative.

Multimedia artist and filmmaker Erin McCuskey and multi-instrumentalist Christine Tammer have been selected to present their projection and soundscape work, Do Not Go Gentle, at the inaugural White Night Ballarat on March 4.

Dylan Thomas’ famous poem Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night speaks of the poet’s anguish at the passing of his father, encouraging him to “not go gentle” but to “rage against the dying of the light”.

Similarly, McCuskey and Tammer will encourage women to speak up, have a voice, and own their wisdom, while also exploring issues of death and ageing.

“Women will be our focus, particularly around issues of ageing and invisibility – those issues that older women face,” McCuskey said.

“Is invisibility an issue for older women, or is it a secret power as well? The idea is to inspire through women’s stories of death and dying, watching people die, but also being older and exploring the idea of passing on wisdom to the world.”

The duo has gained inspiration by hosting a forum with older women and discussing the issues that were important to them, helping shape an audio-visual presentation featuring McCuskey’s high-contrast imagery and Tammer’s “ghostly” soundtrack.

The end result will be projected onto the 1970s Eureka House in Lydiard Street.

“It’s about providing a meditation about where women are in their own lives and the wisdom that comes from older women that is sometimes pushed under the carpet,” McCuskey said.

“There will be layers of meaning. It’s not a pretty light sculpture, it’s a meaningful dissertation on memory, time and women’s wisdom.”

Tammer said the emotional work would also hint to the past as far back as Ballarat’s Goldrush era.

“There might be some ghosts that come to the piece that might not be tangible,” she said.