Artist Statement: Brad Darkson

One person picks up a rock with the help of another and places it down in a circular formation, a cool sensation up to the knee, waiting for the tide…

How did we get here? Rewind to the beginning.

Kurlannaintyerlo – curl up that sea, on the crest of a wave. Creation is in the now.

Kakirra, the Moon, physically pulls the ocean upwards as she passes overhead in a planetary collaboration. Saltwater moves against rock, slowly eroding minerals to form our oceans. Yarta, the Earth, inhales. Oceans rise. An ancient fault line slowly folds a layer of rock over an eternity. Glacial mudstone deposited from a time defined by cold, formed through eons of immense pressure and elevated temperature. Exhale as oceans recede.

Fungi digest rocks to provide soil for plants. Bacteria provide oxygen to create atmosphere. Each new multispecies community assembled in the process of collaborative world-making and survival.

Tending. Listening to Country. Kaurna bring kardla, fire, to yarta, collaborating with grasslands, trees and other living things that overlap in these ecologies. Kakirra passes overhead.

Kauwi, water, rises to the heat. The silence of young shoots underfoot. Freshwater drains from deep rooted grasslands into a gently flowing stream, yawning to meet saltwater, and new collaborations take place. Ceremony. Sing to the ocean. A spring nearby guides the path of the stones into a circular formation. World-making continues.

Enter the economy > oeconomia > oikonomia > oikos (house) + nemein (manage). Ideas of progress and looking to a better future for humanity. One full of promise and ease powered by economic advancement and capital. Humans external to the environment. Industrial progress. Move forward. Forget the present. Kakirra passes overhead.

Humanist and rationalist ideas that centre science and reason over the spiritual and the non-human place emphasis on the individual – consciousness, agency. Our attention drifts further from the collaborative nature of survival in world-making. Survival becomes about the individual. The human species in a growth economy. Humans external to the environment. A new identity of place formed through modernity and progress, and ownership of Country. Enormous rock structures take the place of smaller ones for the sake of profit.

Ignore the present. Forget the past. The rocks remain unmoved. Waiting, as kakirra passes overhead.

Today we ask ourselves what lead us to the precipice of ecological catastrophe. Still we push on. Forward. Disconnected from the present. Searching for technological collaborations that might extend our survival in the wreckage of a global economy. A virtual ghost of a time that was present and is now past.

One person picks up a rock with the help of another and places it down in a circular formation, a cool sensation up to the knee, waiting for kakirra.

Are you a morning or a night person?

Oddly enough I think I am probably both. I really like the crisp feeling of walking early in the morning and the smell of the night air changing with the rising sun. There is something special about waking up and being up before everybody else is rushing off. But I am always up late working on creative projects, and one of the great things about growing up and living on Kaurna Country is that you’re looking west over the ocean where the sun sets.

Is there a sound or song that prompts a where or when for you?

There are so many! The first that comes to mind is ‘Treaty’ by Yothu Yindi, mainly because I am working with this track for an upcoming exhibition, so I’ve been listening to it a lot lately. ‘Treaty’ reminds me of my childhood. As a kid I spent a lot of time with my brother sitting in the back of Dad’s VL Commodore station agon, listening to cassettes when travelling between Mum and Dad’s place.

Is there something you’ve always collected?

Instruments like guitars and I collect a lot of tools.

Where do you feel the most connected / where do you feel the most disconnected?

I feel most connected to the Kaurna coastline and being close to the ocean, and I feel disconnected in most city environments; for me there’s an undercurrent in cities that usually gives me a feeling of disconnect or imbalance. Also on aeroplanes because there’s no concept of space or time.

What scares you the most right now / what brings you hope and/or inspires?

What scares me most would be the state of the climate and the way that a majority of people think about it. 

Through the process of making your new commission for Between Waves, what has been clear/revealed and/or has anything become more complicated/obscured.

A number of aspects of culturally significant sites have become more clear to me through talking to Community and Elders during the development of this commission, and my connection to Country and culture has also become more clear.