Roget's Circular

JUST*ICE? SMH LIFE AND DEATH SHOW Greg Leong ROGET'S CIRCULAR Sean PayneCarmel Bird Sharon Pittaway Deborah Malor Simon Longstaff Helen Rayment BEWARE OF PEDESTRIANS Roger Palmer Carmel Bird Michael Buckley


LETTER: Carmel Bird

Lisa Roberts and Melissa Smith are visual artists who corresponded with each other via e-mail throughout 1999 and 2000.

During this time these Tasmanian women both produced works in various media, drawing on the landscape and on imagination and memory. From their own and their family histories, they also gathered and shared personal treasures which brought further dimension to the correspondence. These many-faceted parts have been assembled in an interactive narrative whereby the user of the CD-Rom is invited to move within the dialogue of word, thought, image and emotion. Sounds have been brought in from Secret Places, the work of Ron Nagorcka, who is an environmental musician, creating soundscapes with birdsong and other natural sound.

The concept of time, its cycles and seasons, is poetically and reflectively invoked. There is a consciousness of one century's end, a new century's birth, and with this, the peaceful birth of the nation of Australia. The year beginning in January 2001 marks the foundation of this country; the CD-Rom, with its nostalgic use of fragments from the past, and its assurance of future meanings, encapsulates the sense of this foundation.

The images and sounds are placed within two frameworks which are linked and inter-woven - these are the frames given by the months of the Gregorian calendar and the Six Categories of Meaning described by Peter Mark Roget in his treasurehouse of words and thought, his Thesaurus.

From the lyrical conjunction of all these elements arises the CD-Rom which depends for its realisation upon the active participation of the user, who becomes the reader of this narrative.

Part of an artist's desire is the impulse to evaluate her own world, to evaluate the changing world around her, and constantly to reflect and re-evaluate. In Roget's Circular the user is drawn into the process of re-evaluation of the markers of the personal visions of the two artists, as images and memories move from one to the other, as they involve the user's own mental images, and as these images and memories shift and merge and re-make themselves in the electronic medium.

Carmel Bird, Melbourne, 2000

In 2000 Carmel Bird was researching and writing fiction, editing collections of Australian literature and teaching English in Melbourne.