Originally written by Spectator-Observer Partnership
PORTLAND Emerging Artist Residency artist Todd Baxter wound up his six-week residency with an open studio and a performance entitled “Far from my body being for me merely a fragment in space, there would be no space at all for me if I had no body”.
About a dozen people watched Todd emerge from a bed of sand in the studio and walk to Nuns’ Beach where he buried a toy seal and laid a plaque on top of it.
He said the seal identified Portland and the history of the town as a sealing and whaling town, and he always had a fascination with plaques, of which Portland has many.
Todd’s idea for the performance came from the stories of the past lives and the fact that their physical bodies do exist in the landscape.
“I just wanted to highlight stages of past bodies existing in landscapes and that the use of artifacts can obscure the vision of the past in some way,” he said.
Todd began his residency six weeks ago with a week-long walk via the coast from Warrnambool to Portland. Some of the works that came out of the walk were shown in his “Pedestrian Speech” exhibition, which is at the CEMA Arts Centre until May 5.
He spent some time visiting Heywood and Hamilton, but said Portland had a big influence on him.
“Portland is a really interesting place culturally for me, thinking about the place and stories and because it is on the edge of the landscape, it’s the beginning of a lot of stories.”
Todd finished his residency yesterday and will return to Bendigo, where he has a number of exhibitions coming up.