The Melbourne Bureau has been enjoying trips into the Victorian countryside, which is particularly beautiful in autumn. Leanora’s PhD research is progressing and she is currently settling into a pop-up studio in Creswick. Two gramophone players and a roaring fire have helped enormously on chilly mornings. An assemblage of images (archive and her own) cover the walls and will form part of an exhibition in the town of Rainbow later on in the year, alongside an 8mm film piece and an installation of found objects exploring the different forms an archive can take, memory and the experiential residue of landscape.
Leanora has been enjoying gathering together material from a variety of sources (special thanks to Dianne Dickson and Geoff Hocking for allowing her to rummage through their archives!) and her journeys into the Mallee in northern Victoria. In February she screened a selection of films from The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia in the Mecca Hall in Rainbow. The weekend of films recreated the communal activity of ‘going to the pictures’ that was a regular occurrence in Rainbow during the fifties and sixties. The Mecca Hall used to be the cinema and conversations flowed over tea and cake after the films on memories from older members of the audience of going to the cinema (sometimes sneaking in) and the social and cultural aspects of this in a small town. The films were projected from 16mm prints and included newsreels and cartoons before the features. It was a wonderful experience, covered in the local paper, The Argus, with calls for more in the future.
One visit to Rainbow uncovered a treasure trove of early 20th century glass plate negatives. Collector and local resident Chug Fuller has shared these wonderful images with Leanora and she is hoping to use them in her work. Next step is to print them all up and do some detective work to see if anyone recognises faces in the faded and sometimes disintegrating images.
As we head into winter here in the southern hemisphere, the Melbourne Bureau is going to be hibernating with some books and venturing north (to the sunny Mallee) to shoot some more Super 8 in Rainbow.
Dianne Dickson archive