Cede is a visual investigation of the people, places, and historical uses and misuses of the Yarra River. The work concentrates on how users of the river have left their trace on it, how we interact with it and how that interaction has affected the river visually. The word Cede reflects feelings of a forgotten place, which is how I feel when hiking the river. The river is the backyard for many Melburnian’s, and I myself am looking for my connection to this place and where I fit into its mysteries and history.
The Yarra for many years has been referred to as the ‘river of mirth’, a cultural joke in Victorian eyes, yet I find it to be a river to be rediscovered and cherished as a marvel of Colonial, Post-Colonial and Indigenous history. These ideas of trace either artificial or natural are the building blocks of what I am searching for now. How have we left our mark on nature and why has nature chosen to leave its mark that way.
My work is based in the poetics of loss, change and trace along the Yarra River from the eyes of a middle-aged male. The project is an exploration of our connection to the history of place as well as that records the connections to the things we may have left behind. The mark we leave, or the mark that is assumed we leave, can speak more about the psychological space we inhabit, rather than the place itself.