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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. 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; Kata 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.


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, Trish van Dijk
Dingoes audio - courtesy of Listening Earth
Satellite images - Australia, Afghanistan, China, India, Korea, Pakistan: images courtesy 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, Iain Campbell, and Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney

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
(c) Merilyn Fairskye and the Australian Film Commission 2003
Three-channel production assisted by the Australia Council for the Arts


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A three-channel video installation. Core duration: 25 minutes


Two side projections show a range of apparently unedited scenes and outtakes that appear to assemble and disassemble the images on the centre screen, which is the core program of the 25-minute single-channel digital video of Connected. As people enter the space, their shadows interrupt/intercept the images on Screens 1 and 3 in a simple gesture of low tech interactivity.


A digital video/database installation, 3 channels, surround sound. Duration: 25-minute loop.