Saturday, March 8, 2008

Visual Idea: Aboriginal Burial Posts

As I was looking at the pile of 100 red mailing tubes in my car and around the classroom floor, I wondered what these instruments would look like during the performance outside. Yes, they could be kept backstage in a tent and only appear when players carry them into view and move around with them, but what if they became part of the set itself, in plain view the whole time?

This reminded me of the incredible installation I saw in Canberra at the National Art Gallery of Australia, the Aboriginal Memorial. A common traditional practice among aboriginals is to place the bones of the dead in upright hollow posts to allow the spirits to connect with the next world. These hollow posts are decorated with lines and dots in various colors indicating the tribe or clan of the deceased. The burial posts look a bit like didjeridus but are sometimes called Pukamani or Dupeng.

Maybe we can make our own versions using personal designs with colored tape and magic markers, and place the tubes vertically over stakes in the grass; a magical red forest that we pull up and start sounding...

You can watch the video HERE
and look at the Quicktime VR HERE

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