The Greeting

The Greeting

This artwork was produced collaboratively with the local people of Liverpool, both new and old.

It was filmed on land whose original inhabitants are the Darug, Gandangara and Tharawal Aboriginal people. As such I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of this land and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. I wish to pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

This collaborative artwork series and project has emerged as the result of a six-month artist residency as part of the Urban Screens Initiative. It was made possible by the generous support of Create NSW and Liverpool Council.

This work is designed to be shown on a large digital screen in Macquarie Mall in the downtown area of Liverpool.

 It is a work that is designed to be noticed only briefly. The individual moments on screen are only a minute long. That’s just enough time for someone carrying their shopping to glance up at the screen on their way past, its just enough time to look up from your phone or look over the shoulder of the person you are talking to. You might notice it as you run to work or stroll home after the day ends.

 The work needed to be a simple direct image that didn’t rely on long explanations or words or even sounds. There might be music added to this work later, but the music will be simple and not distract from the image. The actions in each one-minute shot are basically the same except they are repeated by different people in a personal way. That way, in a week of walking through the mall at different times of the day you will see the actions, but you might not see the same people twice.

 The locations and the people are local. They are seniors, they are the people around you, they might be friends or strangers or even relatives. They all have stories, long histories and experiences. I haven’t told them here but they are there, in their movements, and written in their faces. They are broadly a cross section of the wide variety of different communities and cultures and stories that make up the Liverpool area.

The ritual of the greeting, either as people came to groups, or as they recognized other group members in the street or at social functions became a focus of the artwork. In the end it’s was the simplest idea that proved most effective. The participants simply greeted each other as they normally would. The greetings are sincere and warm and meaningful. They say so much about the power of the bonds people have formed and the lifelong friendships that have been made.

By showing this simple image of active seniors greeting each other and using the same techniques that the advertisers do this work actually challenges a visual landscape that actively excludes them. This idea extends too to the cultural backgrounds of the participants and the many unique and rich cultures that contribute so much to the rich diversity of Liverpool.