Australian Video Art Archive

Merilyn Fairskye



00:25:00 2003

Alice Springs is one of the most isolated towns in Australia. In December 1966 an agreement was signed that allowed the construction of Pine Gap, a US-Australian Joint Defence Space Research facility, as a base for global satellite technology and one of the largest ground control centres in the world, just 17 kilometres outside of Alice. The base connected the world to Pine Gap. This work considers how disembodied and shadowy the experience of being constantly connected can be for local residents. 

The work adopts a Pine Gap modus operandi.  Sites are monitored, from the air and from the ground - Anzac Hill; the airport; the Pine Gap exit; Ormiston Gorge; Hermannsburg Mission; Katja Tjuta - to create a sense of a town and a landscape inhabited by shadows, mirages, and reflections.

People inhabit this space tenuously. You never get to see them.  You hear from them, or about them. Every one around Alice Springs has a story, or a friend with a story, that connects to the base. These anecdotes interweave with intercepts from recent news reports; ambient sounds; static; Morse code from Telegraph Station, the roar of road trains speeding down the Stuart Highway; a lone didgeridoo.

Connected has nine episodes.

Writter, director, producer and camera: Merilyn Fairskye.
Post production : Greg Ferris@MSV.

Voices: William Beattie, Frank Chien, Michiel Dolk, Neville Field, Russell Goldflam, Patrick Hayes, Rose Landes, Pamela Lofts, Pip Mc McManus, Lesley Savage, Lisa Stefanoff, Bill van Dijk, Trish van Dijk, Michael Watts, Mandy Webb.

Pine Gap protest stills, 2002: Mandy Webb and Trish van Dijk.
Dingoes audio: courtesy of LISTENING EARTH.
Satellite images (Australia, Afghanistan, China, India, Korea, Pakistan): courtesy of Jacques Descloitres and Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC.
Iraq: Image provided by the USGS EROS Data Center Satellite Systems Branch.

Thanks to:
Alice Springs Art Foundation, Araluen Arts Centre, Aurora Resorts, Robert Hindley, Beth McRae, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, Rod Moss, Ognian Pishev, Trish and Bill van Dijk, Michael Watts, Mandy Webb and Iain Campbell.

Merilyn Fairskye acknowledges Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park as a World Heritage Area and Living Cultural Landscape, and Anangu culture and ownership of this  Park.

Produced in association with the Australian Film Commission.

DVD available