Slowpoke…mopoke

Slowing right down, attuning in to the worms’ rhythm, I went for a morning wander by the Yarra River, thinking I might come across some other worms to bother with my camera. I started out listening to a program live on ABC radio which weirdly enough was all about slowness–the universe is definitely telling me something. As I crossed the pipe bridge, some walkers alerted me to a pair of mopokes in a nearby tree. What’s a mopoke, I wondered?

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I only managed a couple of shaky distant pictures — but I’ll put them up so you can see the beautiful Yarra gum trees. It’s difficult to tell if they really are mopokes or boobooks as they also call and are also called. I hope so, I love these names– though they could be tawny frogmouths, also wonderfully named worm-eating owls (oops, sorry worms). A moment of enchantment, as Jane Bennett would have it, “intense enough to stop you in your tracks and toss you onto new terrain. (2001, 111)”

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Stopped in my tracks, I’ve gone back to read the blog from the beginning and realise we haven’t really described the project that this blog is part of. Working with Worms is a collaborative, durational, art project where we feed the worms and they transform ‘dead’ matter into live soil. Where it will end, we don’t know, we have no specific expectations but there are a few wild dreams. Meanwhile we’re going with the flow of the project that entangles waiting, conversations, faeces, transformation, and environmental concerns.  Waiting is fundamental to our process — just as it is an important part of many other artists’ practices – involving an attentiveness to time, to ‘silence,’ to process. It’s what artist Lyndal Jones calls a “becoming earth,” a responsiveness to the “insistences of the ground.” For us, it’s the insistences of the ground’s worms that we want to attend to. This is a project very much in progress, or rather very slowly in progress, it being winter and the worms taking their time as we’ve noted in previous posts. While they settle in, we’re being bookworm, reading and blogging– all of us working slowly and sporadically.

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