(current work in progress), 2018

Claire Robertson performing as Louise Lovely for 'The Jewel' (in progress) 2018

Claire Robertson performing as Louise Lovely for 'The Jewel' (in progress) 2018

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'The Jewel' is a project due to be complete in 2018, which seeks to explore the complex and ongoing colonial relationships to the Australian landscape. Blurring past and present, the video installation will reconstruct Louise Lovely’s 1925 silent film ‘Jewelled Nights.’ Filmed in Zeehan, Tasmania, ‘Jewelled Nights’ has been deemed lost and now only exists in the form of outtakes held in the National Film and Sound Archive. However, from the material left behind, we can decipher that it tells the story of a  young woman who escapes from an unhappy marriage, disguising herself as a male prospector and finding refuge in an isolated mining town.

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Photo of Louise Lovely in 'Jewelled Nights' 1925. Image from the National Film and Sound Archive Australia

Photo of Louise Lovely in 'Jewelled Nights' 1925. Image from the National Film and Sound Archive Australia

Like Louise Lovely, I will direct and perform. The reconstruction will acknowledge the present as it delves into fragments of the past. Sets and backdrops will merge current day Zeehan with a historical one. The work will reveal the reconstruction process, bringing the audience’s attention to the boundaries of the set, slippages in time and the presence of the author. The work will draw parallels between the constructed nature of influential historical narratives and film. Performing as my mother, I will draw on my own history with Zeehan,  reenacting scenes from my childhood during a transitional time when we lived in the Heemskirk Motor Hotel (the only hotel in Zeehan.) The work will memorialise the in-between, the unknown and what it means to be lost when you are ‘someone else’ or ‘somewhere else.’