Beside the excellent wine and meat to be found and consumed here in Argentina, I have discovered a brilliant Argentine Gin called Apostoles. (https://www.apostolesgin.com) Made with Juniper, Yerba Mate, Pink Grapefruit, Peppermint and my favourite; Eucalyptus! Perfect on ice in a garden watching electrical storms above the Andes or perhaps while on a road trip somewhere or as a toast to say farewell Argentina.
OFF-CENTERED - a wandering sketch
I was born in a marginal place located at the southern bit of the world currently called Australia. Far from the busy northern hemisphere where most of the human population live and where most power bases currently reside. The past years I have spent a long time in Argentina, another large but comparatively quiet fringe-land in the south and I have also spent close to two years living in Antarctica, which is as remote as you can get on this planet. Further-more, I keep moving like some lost soul avoiding capture from mysterious invisible evil authorities. My nomadic behaviour has kept me slightly off the radar and in-transit for over 30 years. I often live with extended geographical space between myself and people I know. This has not turned me into a sad lonely hermit nor anti-social, as I am indeed a social person when I need to be but I have been afar and I have certainly missed a few birthday parties.
It seems I find myself in a place called Peripheral. A place near Border and just down the track from Away.
I make art in Peripheral. It is far from the Center and difficult to get to but the view is lovely and the air is usually nice and clean. There is a certain amount of freedom here as the weight of history seems not too heavy, competition is not too obvious, pressure and greed are kept at a healthy distance, gossip is only faintly heard and the Center often seems like a fuzzy mirage. Interaction is not very strong here and networking is extremely limited. To live and operate here one must be self-sufficient, self-motivated and self-disciplined as well as selfish, self-obsessed and one must also be able to take “selfie” photographs to upload onto the internet so people in distant lands don’t forget who you are.
Peripheral is a place people like to visit in order to recharge their batteries but many don’t wish to live here as it is far away from the so called “action”. Here in Peripheral you must make your own action. From this outlying situation, you can watch from a distance the intense action or hear loud noises from the Center but you cannot influence or play a role, as you are not physically there nor directly engaged with the central commotion. You are on the exterior looking in. Occasionally you wonder how all those complicated Center activities will affect you and in what manner.
It can be argued that everyone is now very well connected in this globalized, hi-tech information age of ours, therefore nowhere is faraway. Yes, it is true that if money is available one can jump on a plane and travel from one side of the planet to the other in less than a day and it is true that many of us have been able to communicate rapidly over massive distances for decades but there are still the inner sanctums and the outer areas. Those hot spots and the icy wastelands.
Sometimes here in Peripheral you wonder where you have disappeared to and you must check your position in a mirror and of course you always locate yourself right smack, bang here in the world. Centralized each moment, wherever you may be until the day you die and then all those elements currently called ‘you’ dissipate outwards to meld with outlying regions. If you are living in Peripheral some bits of you will probably get to the Center eventually and if you are at the epicentre then what was you will spread to the far fringes. Everything likes to move and nothing is really at the Center nor near Peripheral forever.
This is why I like maps as they help us situate ourselves in this flowing magma of existence. I ponder maps of all sorts whether I am in Peripheral on my way to Center or if I am in Center and heading out “bush.” It is ironically stabilizing for me to know I am moving as well as comforting to be aware of which direction I am moving towards. Cartography can ease those off-centred feelings of dizzy disorientation but the real trick for me is to locate that feeling of being remotely centred wherever you find yourself.
There is a great deal for me to do over the next weeks as an Australian Council for the Arts grant now enables me to implement a self-initiated maritime art residency on-board a cargo container vessel in mid. May.
I shall undertake a sea voyage from Western Australia to S.E Asia accompanied by film maker Malcolm McKinnon. You can track us if you go to this link –
© Stephen Eastaugh, 2019. All Rights Reserved.