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QUEENSTOWN’s UNCONFORMITY 2018 – From the Archive

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Driving to Queenstown for the 2018 UNCONFORMITY Art Festival

A diaristic record of the journey to Tasmania’s west coast two years ago – October 2018

NOTE: The 2020 UNCONFORMITY was cancelled due to the pandemic.
A link to their COVOD-19 response can be seen HERE
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Road to Queenstown

 

The road convulses, twists and turns as if the wilderness has challenged its taming by the road builders and engineers. Just when the wild begins to overcome your imagination a mountain ridge is crested and opening up before you is a place made by man and commerce showing their destruction of the landscape to make a place, a wild place – home.

The town of Queenstown is nestled in a valley floor through which flows a stream, a road and a railway line. The mining ceased after 100 years of operation and the town now seems devoid of what must have been the hustle and bustle of its glory days. Left orphaned by those who have moved on are commercial buildings intended for a permanence that is now redundant. Other buildings are kept cobbled together by make-do maintenance. The occasional sign in the empty shop window proclaiming “FOR RENT”. Houses of corrugated iron and rough stone construction and the occasional 1940s or 50s flat roofed ‘modern style’ straddle the ridges. They sometimes hang precariously from the narrow winding roads that move from the central business area outwards and upwards like a schematic of the human circulatory system.

 

 

In this unlikely place there exists a community of artists ranging from those for whom it is a hobby for personal life enrichment to those, many of whom are of national stature in their disciplines. Bi-yearly a special event in Queenstown celebrates its art community as well as those from around that country and the world who consider the locale as a touchstone and inspiration for their art.

Called ‘The Unconformity’ the event takes its name from an unusual rock formation found locally that was the natural catalyst for the mineral riches that were found there. ‘The Unconformity’ takes place over 3 days and attracts a worldwide audience.

Our unique proposition is to be a cultural conduit into western Tasmania—a place hard to get to and harder to engage—by mining a new cultural commodity with the spirit of independence, boldness, risk and adventure that is melded to our region’s DNA.

Mission statement from The Unconformity website

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We sat in a café munching on a magnificent homemade pie and at a table nearby the (then) former senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie also having lunch. I discovered a long lost cousin, the artist Beverley Loverock in a shop that is her studio at the top end of town. And just walking down a street between visiting art galleries and events we encountered Marc Pricop, a photodocumentary photographer who we knew from Brisbane when he was a student at the Queensland College of Art.

 

Just off the main street we caught up with nationally recognised printmaker Raymond Arnold who first came to the region in the 1970s as part of the Franklin Gordon Blockade protest. His connection with the place at that time left an indelible mark on him and for the last 18 years has set up his studio there with his wife Helena Demczuk. Called LARQ his modern studio and gallery featured an expansive artwork created in response to his years in Tasmania. It featured 100 hard ground line etchings, some multi-plates, which were presented in the gallery as 100 individually framed works as well as the assembled plates in a mosaic format that stretched the length of the studio’s main wall.

 

 

We were only able to stay for the better part of two days as local accommodation is booked out well in advance and we travelled from Tarraleah to Strahan and back to Tarraleah late Sunday afternoon. There was just not enough time to take in the range of art, performance, videos and presentations on offer many of which were booked out … But then there’s the next event in two years – we’ll be back.

HERE IS A COLLAGE OF THINGS WITNESSED DURING OUR VISIT…

 

NOTE: Due to copyright restrictions Youtube has muted most of the audio in this video – Imagine AC/DC music LOUD…!

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SOME LINKS…

 

https://www.theunconformity.com.au/

 

https://theconversation.com/the-unconformity-festival-embraces-the-power-and-peculiarity-of-tasmanias-wild-west-106147

 

https://unco-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/static/images/background-looped.4d0f74bf780d.mp4

 

 

PROGRAM

https://www.theunconformity.com.au/program/

 

EVENTS

https://www.theunconformity.com.au/events/

 

A WIKI

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Unconformity

 

Written by Cooper+Spowart

October 25, 2020 at 9:28 am

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