Peter’s Blog

I need to place on record my feeling that overwhelmingly throughout my life, my contact with my fellow men, women and children has been a total delight.
It is a recurring pleasure which I experience each day and is among the precious things which makes my life rewarding and worth living, not least because moments of the keenest enjoyment can as readily occur with a complete stranger as with family and friends.

 


 

A cherished dream, my book   One small place on earth …  discovering biodiversity where you are,   self-published in August 2019, has been long in the making. Jan Watson created its design template nine years ago. The idea of doing a book seems to have occurred during my stay with Clive Tempest, the website’s first architect, when I was visiting the UK in 2006. By the time Steve Guttormsen and I began sustained work on the book in 2017, much of which I had already written, the imperative was to create a hard copy version of a project whose content is otherwise entirely digital.

 

People may wonder why there is little mention of climate change – global warming on my website. There are two related reasons. Firstly, if former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s 2007 remark that climate change is the “great moral, environmental and economic challenge of our age” is true, we have not acted accordingly before or since. Rudd’s statement is only true if we collectively live as if it is true, Rudd included. Instead, our politics has wasted decades favouring business as usual, and a global economy excessively dependent on fossil fuels – in the wilful absence of a politics intent on achieving a low carbon economy. Secondly, although it is open to individuals to strive to live the truth of Rudd’s remarks, the vast majority of people, myself included, do not. I salute those who do. The precautionary principle alone makes me regard climate change as a current planetary crisis, but because I have only marginally changed the way I live, and still wish to fly, I am not inclined to pontificate on the subject.

 

The ‘Film Diary’ entries are selected items from the diary I keep whenever I am filming. To check location references, click on ‘Tamborine Mountain’ on the top information bar then hit the ‘Tamborine Mountain’ button on the map. 

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Other / 22.04.2008

Received an email from Julian Palacios, the author of Lost in the Woods about Syd Barrett and the Pink Floyd, praising the essay I wrote as part of my BA degree on the Light/Sound Workshop at Hornsey College of Art, of which I was a member. He first got in touch in December 2007, having read this website’s Press page, and asked for my recollections about the Workshop, my memories of Mike Leonard and the ‘boys from the Floyd’. He requested the essay in one of his emails. I knew I had kept it and was able to dig it out.

Mike was an architect and the Workshop’s presiding genius. I shared a flat in his house with Roger Waters and Nick Mason whom he taught at architecture college. The boys from the Floyd would come into our studio at art college and improvise to our light projections.

 

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Other / 30.03.2008

Wrote a letter to Peter Garrett, Federal Minister for the Environment, following his March 12 reply to the email and brief paper I sent him on January 8, about rectifying the lack of protection of biodiversity in Australia’s inhabited areas. These can be more biodiverse than remote or wilderness areas. I drafted the paper soon after a meeting on the Mountain in June 2007, at which Jennie George, now Peter Garrett’s Parliamentary Secretary, asked what can we do to protect Australia’s biodiversity. I thought his letter glossed over the lack of protection and wanted to tell him so. Much good may it do me.

 

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Other / 27.03.2008

Today Edward O Wilson, the inspirational conservationist and the first person to use the word ‘biodiversity’ in print, sent an email in reply to a letter I wrote him last week.

I wanted his reflection on my concern about the gap between the widespread use of the word ‘biodiversity’ in conversation and in the media and people’s understanding of its meaning. I suggested that the gap could best be bridged via a blue-chip natural history TV documentary series and expressed puzzlement at this apparent gap in the illustrious record of the genre.

In his generous reply Professor Wilson agreed with my premise and was very complimentary about my archive.

In my letter to him I had acknowledged an immeasurable debt of gratitude to him because, without the word ‘biodiversity’, my archive would be inconceivable.

I also sent a similar letter to Sir David Attenborough who graciously replied by post in beautiful handwriting. He did not refer to my point about the apparent gap in the record of natural history documentaries, but confirmed that my two contacts in the BBC’s Natural History Unit were the people best… Read Complete Text

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My Travels / 22.03.2008

Hilde de Bruijn, Head of Exhibitions at Smart Project Space in Amsterdam, replied to an email I sent her about the archive and the overseas trip I am planning for July/August. She has invited me to get in touch during my stay in Amsterdam. I want to explore the idea of a video installation derived from the archive and titled One Small Place on Earth, which we were developing for the Eden Project.

 

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Other / 20.03.2008

Steve has started editing The Beauty of Overlooked Things video series. The idea behind the series is to make the archive footage more accessible as art, given the inherent inaccessibility of the published archive.

The series will comprise five 6-8 minute videos. I emailed Christina to ask her if she would do all the graphics. Clive and I had previously discussed on the phone the idea of a book based on the archive and which could include the Beauty series of DVDs. We intend to work on the book during my UK stay in late July, early August.

 

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The Brisbane Line / 03.03.2008

My article Two Cheers for the Wired World has appeared on the Brisbane Line. It’s about some of the consequencies of the tsunami of email traffic which confronts people in demand, and their largely inadequate response, which means that not only are they likely to be discourteous in failing to reply but they risk deleting the ‘out of left field’ correspondence which is a spur to creative and intellectual life.

TWO CHEERS FOR THE WIRED WORLD

I consider the internet a wonder of our age, born of another wonder, the computer. As such, the internet appears to precisely reflect the tempo and manners of the times in technologically advanced societies. It has transformed the way in which people keep in touch with oneanother and the way in which they acquire information without supplanting the previous means through which they accomplished these tasks.

My experience of the wired world is relatively brief and my use of it unadventurous, extending to a website devoted to my video archive of Tamborine Mountain’s biodiversity, footage from the archive on Youtube and communicating via email. I am reluctant to transact financially on the net. Nor am… Read Complete Text