There are few street lights on North Stradbroke Island, so despite the clear starlit night, we’re doing head counts of children aurally on the way from Fishes on the Point restaurant to the surf club. I miss the turn off because it is so dark, but we backtrack, heading down the road and up again toward the light on the hill. Light spills from the entry, familiar faces are outside, but the sound of the sea crashing into the gorge below is loud: people’s mouths are moving but it’s nigh impossible to hear what they are saying. The sensory experience begins with nature and as the projection begins, viewed from the cliff outside the surf club, nature is an intrinsic part of the visual. Lucy Trippett’s projection of turtles, sharks, coral and fish – and underwater landscapes – digitally mixed and matched to a changing acoustic, hits the ancient cliff face with immense power. Nature becomes a backdrop, screen, yet significant co-collaborator. We experience it first outside, clinging to the top of the cliff with other viewers, wind and sound as powerful as the images. From inside the surf club, the sound track is more evident and the projection contained, crisper. People are lying on the floor to view the images on the ceiling, and it is in this environment that you relax into the experience; are contained by it. The images are psychedelic, seamlessly tracked with the music, and their kaleidoscopic morphing, from underwater footage to colour and movement, is overwhelming, transformative, yet with meditative powers. The music acts like a familiar, a companion on an exotic journey.
This was an experience that I couldn’t even attempt to convey with my iPhone camera. The image is of north gorge on Thursday, a day when the seas were so rough that the sea foam was flying upward, clumps travelling all the way to the walkway, like reverse snowfall.