Hong Kong did its manic thing as I wandered streets and subway stations for a few days reminiscing and smelling the sights. The un-magical sound of jack hammers and traffic did my head in somewhat while the aromas of roast duck, star anise and assorted scents bombarded my nostrils. I watched rabid neon capitalism feeding off the hyperactive work force and big fun in all forms was all there and all for sale. It’s a city I do like but it certainly requires all sorts of energy to survive there. Food and fun was done with Mr John Batten one evening behind a red door and down some steps at a place called Ping Pong which was a local venue for such a game in the past. Sadly, I flew out before I saw some other characters but time seems to be trickier than ever these days.
And then I was in Europe for my 7th Amsterdam exhibition with Suzanne Biederberg gallery. The Australian ambassador, Dr Brett Mason kindly opened my show and I had the pleasure of catching up with many friends from the Netherlands, Russia, USA, Belgium, Australia, Germany and Sweden. My sister Claire was actually in the same continent at the same time so I even had some family support at the VESSELS exhibition. Many laughs and many drinks took away the night.
The next day was a little tricky navigating life but I managed. In the evening, I found myself slopping around the apartment I was staying in wearing thick Antarctic socks, a silk Khmer sarong, a T-shirt from Bangkok and a synthetic fibre pile vest from Antarctica. Fashionable people may start to feel ill now just thinking about my outfit. It was +20 C inside the apartment but I had thoughts of +40 C weather still in my mind from Malaysia as were the memories of many -20 C days from Antarctica. My wardrobe mirrors the places I have been but I did not wish to present to the public such an unruly smorgasbord of fashion items. I will never make it to the catwalk.
Strolls around Vondel park in Amsterdam and a tour of funky Rotterdam wrapped up my time in the Dutch world, then it was time to move north. Before I did so I spotted a travel book titled Atlas Obscura that includes the Davis station sculpture garden I set up in Antarctica some years ago.
I took the long way north. At London Heathrow airport, I listened to the soft music flowing about the terminal. It reminded me of the Brian Eno album Music for Airports. Designed to be listenable or not. Ambient, subtle, mellow tunes to smooth or ease the stress of modern travel. It worked for me but then I had to leave the airport as I waited for my next flight eleven hours in the future. I found a lodge next to the airport but the sounds there were very different. Large jets flew over my bed making VERY anti-ambient music and across the street a classic English pub served traditional British food like Samosa, Vindaloo curry and pints of larger. Not much sleep was had.
I am now working in one of the best studios I have had… and I have had a few! I stay in a very comfortable contemporary Scandinavian house that is one minute walk away from the studio and outside these buildings I am surrounded by a delicious, clean, sharp and heavily moist air. This is the excellent Nordisk kunstnarsenter Dalsåsen or NKD http://www.nkdale.no that sits high above the town of Dale i Sunnifjord just north of Bergen in Norway. Lucky me! I have two months here to consider, ponder, experiment, plan and probably make more of that stuff called art.