Tempest Flow


Claire Bridge
Last Light

video and sound installation

5 min 16 secs


Last Light, refers to both the current crises of refugees and of climate change. A metaphor of the expression “a minute to midnight”, I filmed this work in real time on the most easterly point of the continent of Australia, in the “last light” at the closing of the day.

This space, where shore and ocean meet, brings to mind notions of asylum seekers precariously crossing oceans through darkness in desperate search of a safe harbour. In contrast, Australia is renowned for its beaches and celebrated as the “Lucky Country” and in our National Anthem in lines which declare “our home is girt by sea” and “for those who’ve come across the seas, We’ve boundless plains to share” or so it goes. Yet, the harsh realities of current government policy and the abuse of human rights of asylum seekers continue alongside the entrenched Australian attachment to fossil fuels and coal.

Global warming, rising oceans and the impacts of these are key themes of the work, points that were also a major message of the 2016 Rio Olympic opening ceremony.

In the face of this darkness, what do we look to? 

Instinctively we look to the light. Hope.

I continue to explore a core theme of my practice, that of the relationship between ourselves and our planet at the edge of change. I focus on the intricate connection between the causes and impacts of climate change and the global crisis of refugees, exploring both a harmony and dissonance in this relationship, in particular in the Australian context within the uniquely Australian landscape.

I am also particularly interested in synaesthesia: from the Ancient Greek σύν syn, "together", and αἴσθησις aisthēsis, “sensation”, where one sense impression is experienced simultaneously and automatically as another sense impression. Traditionally, this has been related to the external senses, for example where a person sees a colour but hears a sound simultaneously, or experiences a taste when seeing a specific colour.

We don't just experience the world through one channel, or one sense at time, but through multiple channels of sense perception, the physical senses and beyond these, the inner senses. We FUSE. 

Through creating parallel sensory experiences, I explore synaesthesia in relation to the inner senses, such as imagination and intuition, or a sense of belonging. These states of being that arise, like a harmonic resonance, from a synaesthesia of inner and outer (external) sense perceptions, I term synaesthetic resonance.

“Physicist Fritjof Capra informs us that the integration of recent insights in physics and the life sciences will require “a conceptual shift from structure to rhythm”. Theorists now describe atoms in terms of harmonics, molecules vibrate; each substance “tuned” to a unique pitch.” 
– Richard Heinberg

Last Light is a meditation. Through the trancelike, simultaneous stillness and movement, I invite an experience of being in nature. We are so used to being constantly over stimulated. What happens when we pause? What does it do to our heartbeat, our inner rhythm? How does this shift our perception and perspective of our natural environment? Our intimacy and relationship with place and sense of belonging? 

In all these works, the videos and photographs, a common element … water.
In the words of the United Nations, “Water is the primary medium through which climate change influences Earth’s ecosystem and thus the livelihood and well-being of societies.”1 Water connects us all. Human beings ourselves are composed of between 50 -75% water. Water connects us intricately with global ecosystems, through rivers, lakes, clouds, rainfall and melting ice-caps and rising and warming oceans, through the air we breathe and water we drink. It moves through us all. Within all the diversity, a unifier.

(source: unwater.org/topics/water-and-climate-change/en/)

Claire Bridge - film, editing and soundscape

Chill Carrier - soundtrack, 'Passing By' from the Album 'forwards Back Ahead - chapter 1' and licensed with permission.