At last Steve and I were able to take up Clive’s suggestion of creating a Peter Kuttner YouTube Channel. We had recently posted the first new video in 18 months, opened up our Vimeo account and several new posts are underway.
I wonder how many people have asked themselves the question: is life sacred? and why. The basic premise of the sanctity of life is that life is God given. The question why is as revealing as the original question. In other words, why does someone having grown up with the notion that life is sacred, change the position of the word ‘is’. The notion aspires to be universal, yet one’s questioning of it is inevitably personal. For me the notion harks back to my childhood recollection of religious instruction and observance and, once encountered, was something I wanted to believe in. It is a question predicated on a potentially inexhaustible sequence of compelling questions.
In those far off, pre dictionary-consulting days, I associated the word sacred insofar as it was known to me, with the ineffable aura of religious virtue and divine dispensation which I sensed in the services I occasionally attended. The word represented a reality both private and secret. In western culture the proposition that life is sacred is intimately linked to the 6th commandment: you shall not murder. I was probably quite young when I first heard it and young when I first understood the… Read Complete Text
A couple of days ago I received a phone call from a man who was unsure who I was and who was unknown to me – until, after some stalling on my part and hesitant persistency on his, he introduced himself as Herbert Distel, a well-known Swiss artist whom I had met in Hamburg in November 1968 when I was co-curating an exhibition of avant-garde European art and he was one of the artists. He was phoning from his home near Vienna to inform me that his Museum of Drawers (to which I contributed a piece of multi-coloured bread), was in the process of going online and that next year would be its 40th anniversary. The museum contains 500 artworks by 500 artists housed in a cabinet with 20 drawers
divided into small compartments and can be found at www.schubladenmuseum.com. The site is still under construction, but should be more advanced and may even be complete by the time you see it. This was a welcome call from the past and a contact that I hoped we would maintain, as I told him in my email.
After meagre spoils night filming in Joalah National Park, usually the most reliable source of subjects, Jaap and I agreed to resume filming in early October. Other than the ever-abundant birds, little is stirring among the Mountain’s fauna in late Autumn and Winter. Indeed our previous foray a fortnight ago in MacDonald National Park was unique in that for the first time in over 18 months I found nothing worth filming. However, I was still able to film a moth on the garage in Central Avenue today.
I have received a number of complimentary emails about
Ant pulls leg, all of which have been pleasing because it is nice to have one’s work acknowledged, particularly those from naturalists and conservationists, of which the least expected was from Art Vogel, the Director of the Hortus Botanicus in Leiden who wrote, ‘Dear Peter, it is fabulous.’ Another equally unexpected email was from an Associate Curator of the Queensland Art Gallery. These emails proved a good antidote to the burden of my email to John Caddy a few days ago.
The archive is an artwork, but given its running time of 18.5 hours it is unavoidably not as accessible as I would wish; hence my desire to show its scope and essence through video installations. Since March last year I have been exchanging emails with John Caddy, a marvelous poet and photographer who lives near Forest Lake in Minnesota and runs the Morning Earth website. He is profoundly into biodiversity, which he celebrates with a daily photograph and poem emailed to subscribers worldwide. I acknowledged his, in my experience, unparalleled work and unburdened myself to him in an email today, bemoaning the fact that I found that none of the art administrators and hardly any artist in the art and ecology movement as I have encountered it, appear to be onto biodiversity. They are either too urbanized, too interventionist or too limited in their approach to nature to take on biodiversity.
I pointed out that to make biodiversity an artwork requires above all a recognition of what constitutes a life form, plus an openness to the minutest detail, such as his photo of the track of a grub in bark, and… Read Complete Text
For over a year I had been after Lenore Thiele, a retired ecologist, to let me film her digging up a fungus, to reveal more about its constituent parts. Naturally she was reluctant to dig in the National Parks, but today she told me about a suitable specimen near her house. When I called round ready to film, she showed me some fungi in her garden and I told her that they would make good subjects, so she dug and I filmed. It was just as well that we took the opportunity, because the fungus she had in mind, a far bigger specimen, had been damaged and it was located under a hedge, which would have made filming far more difficult if not impossible.
For the first time since November 2007, we posted a new video on YouTube and took steps to open a Vimeo account with a 60 second clip of a tiny ant dragging the leg of a King Cricket up a large rainforest tree at night. The leg is many times the length of the ant. What is totally amazing about filming at night is the fact that the creatures we illuminate were going about their business in total or near total darkness. It is truly a different earth at night, still an active if relatively silent one.
A varied day which included a frustrating attempt to film a couple of Scaly Breasted Lorikeets near my home. Once common, these birds have become a rarity, usurped by the Rainbow Lorikeet. That night I filmed the release into the rainforest of a couple of Carpet Pythons which had been captured on Mountain properties.