1. OLD MAN RIVER
Memorial Square, Forest Road
Bathed in a blue light, local tenor Vince Lemon performs a rendition of the song ‘Old Man River’ as the starting point for The Begin-Again. The video is inspired by an image of Aboriginal elder, Albert, who lived along the shores of Kogarah Bay in the 1880s and 90s, and was known as ‘Albert King of the George’s River’.
The piece refers to the enduring elements in the natural environment as well as the elders of the community. Here the old stories, Indigenous and colonial, are treated as ever-flowing and essential.
2. TRAINS APPROACHING
Bus Interchange, Forest Road
Nestled in the bus interchange, this video presents a narrative of early settlement. A group of local children dressed in historical costumes stage the construction of the first train line; an image of Hurstville in its infancy.
The introduction of the train line in the 1880s marked a shift from rural outpost to commercial hub for Hurstville, and a graduation to an evolving city. The measured drumming that accompanies the video underscores Hurstville’s steady approach to development and echoes the reliance on public transport.
3. DANCE HALL
In the channel that connects Forest Road to Humphrey’s Lane, Mesiti presents a dream-like version of an exaggerated city skyline. This handcrafted version of Hurstville has been constructed by local children, and forms the set for a majestic performance of an Old Time Waltz by members of a local senior citizen dance group.
The elegance, grace and skill of these mature performers waltzing through the latern-like buildings create a lyrical meditation on the past and the future of these city spaces.
4. WATER SLEEVES
Projected into a building facing Humphrey’s Lane is the image of a traditional Chinese Dance. Caught in a cinematic display of artistry, the seductive imagery of the work summons rich cultural traditions.
As an image if tradition and beauty, the video reflects the Chinese community’s rich cultural complexity, while also referring to their history in the area, in particular, the contribution to the social and economic fabric of the city since early settlement.
5. PAKRING LOT DRAGON
Westfield Rooftop Car Park
With a view of the surrounding high-rise cityscape, the Westfield rooftop car park is the stage for a live performance that highlights symbols from the community to address possible futures. These include the dragon, which figures in Chinese mythology, as well as a mascot in local council and sporting teams.
Scattered throughout the lot are idling, customised cars that appear to be glowing, shrouded in dramatic lighting and smoke. Once an hour this mystic landscape is invigorated by the blaring bass of the cars’ stereos and stir the sinuous dance of a Chinese New Year Dragon.
As a cultural remix of local traditions and subcultures, the performance is a fitting climax for The Begin-Again. With intensity of colour and movements, the performance transforms the concerns of local communities into images of striking beauty.
8.30, 9.30, 10.30, 11.30 pm