Monthly Archives: August 2012
When people talk about wanting to get away from it all, more often than not a country day-trip is all they had in mind. While that’s all perfectly fine and good, for those who take their “hermit chic” aspirations seriously, this house is for you!
Welcome to the north-west coast of Tasmania, four hours drive from Hobart or a one hour flight from Melbourne. A holiday here is no mere re-location of your urban lifestyle; there are no fashionable restaurants, no Mona-style art galleries or trendy holiday villages. Instead, there are miles of wild beaches and super-green hills, farmers toiling the famous red soil, and very, very few tourists. It’s one of those rare areas that remains truly undiscovered, for better or worse.
For me however, this trip was actually a home-coming, having grown up in the area. Even so, I was looking forward to a new experience – a night’s stay at the whimsically named “Winged House“. In a race against the setting sun, we twisted our way through the back-roads of Table Cape, before finally catching our first glimpse of the house perched on it’s cliff overlooking the sea.
Designed by architect Richard Goodwin, this unique holiday home embraces it’s seclusion and welcomes the elements, which in this part of the world could mean anything! Floor to ceiling windows encourage contemplation, either in the lounge by the fireplace or from the deep bathtub at the opposite end of the house. Guests are supplied with local wine and Red Cow Dairy cheese, and these, combined with patchy mobile reception, mean there’s nothing for it but to really, totally, stop and enjoy. For more active types, there’s a rough-and-ready path leading down the hill, through the Tea Tree forest, over a stream and through the grass to the black basalt rocks that ring the coast-line. Giant, cup-shaped sponges, red anemones and pearl-like strings of seaweed are the reward.
Despite the comfort of bed, it’s worth rising early to catch the sun appearing over the horizon, casting its golden reflection on the water. If you’re inclined to explore further, the nearby village of Boat Harbour is picture perfect; it’s compact hillside collection of ‘shacks’ and crescent-shaped beach recalling Mediterranean gems, but without the crowds. Or, for a lesson in local history, venture into the rust-coloured Sisters Hills which play host to several Aboriginal caves and middens.
I may be biased, but I think this stretch of coastline is one of the loveliest in Tasmania and consequently, Australia. It’s amazing to me that such a place exists with only the locals to appreciate it, but that’s how they like it, and if you’re craving some solitude, that’s how you’ll like it too.
All pics by Sean Fennessy
On a recent, too-short visit to Hobart, the city I called home for 8 years, the thing I was most looking forward to, apart from seeing friends and breathing in the fresh, icy air, was to finally visit the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona). Along with the rest of the community, for several years I had watched the museum construction from afar, looking on as the small peninsular jutting into the Derwent River was exposed, tunnelled and sculpted, before being closed up once more behind thick, concrete walls. I thought the Fender Katsalidis structure looked like a bank vault, and wondered what treasures were being installed as I went about my daily life. At the time it just seemed like such a fantastical thing to happen to little Hobart, but now it’s clear that Australia’s southern-most city is the perfect location; reminiscent in its remoteness of the excellent Benesse Art Site in Naoshima, Japan.
The story of the man behind the museum is equally intriguing, so if you haven’t already heard it, enjoy.
The current exhibition, Theatre of the World, is a collaboration between Mona and the more traditional Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG). Together they present a seemingly random collision of ancient artefacts, colonial paintings and fiercely modern art that, in its highly curated eclecticism, allows you to see everything in a new light. But that’s true of Mona’s entire concept – take, for example, Egyptian mummies displayed alongside ‘Fat Car’, the morbidly obese sports car sculpture by Erwin Wurm, or the positioning of the beetle-covered ‘Skull’ by Jane Fabre beneath a colonial-era painting of a jaguar. Plus, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a collection of tribal bommy-knockers look so sophisticated – the lighting is superb!
Of course, there’s a lot more to Mona, both in content and theory. So much that I’m not even going to attempt to delve into it here – let’s just say Mona is just a big ol’ weird, wonderful, morbid, entertaining and above all, rich, experience.
Rather than printed artist information within the museum, admission includes catalogue-loaded iPod.
The enormous ‘Snake’ by Sidney Nolan.
‘Cloaca’ by Wim Delvoye
All photography by Sean Fennessy
I’ve been gabbing on about the search for the perfect camera bag for some time now – lamenting how difficult it is to find the perfect combination of style, functionality and discretion. But I have to say, that gap is slowing but surely being filled by start-ups like Langly. Although still in development, I like this bag, I really do. I like how it just looks like a regular back-pack, and how it unzips in the centre for easy access to equipment while leaving room for personal stuff on top. Plus neatly fitting a laptop! With all this, I think it must be a lot heavier than the waifish models in the demo video are letting on, but still, Evan Lane has done well with this design. The crowd-sourcing community evidently thought so too, judging by how significantly he overshot his thirty-thousand dollar Kickstarter goal. I’m looking forward to seeing this fledgling business succeed!