Australia; Australian Capital Territory, Australia; South Australia, Australia
Songlines; Ancient Aboriginal maps passed on through song, story or dance.
When sung these songs describe landmarks lining the route of a journey. These
songlines allow the traveller to navigate their way across vast distances of the
Australian landscape. In doing so, these travellers keep the sacred land alive.
Houghton’s practice focuses on the connection between humans and the
landscape, comparisons between the past and present. Immersed in the spaces she works, Houghton gathers stories formed in the landscape and in return
retranslates the stories that those landscapes reveal about us.
Inspired by the mythology surrounding Aboriginal Songlines, Houghton went
walkabout, alone, across Australia to explore the deep-rooted connection
Australia’s inhabitants form to the landscape they call home. Covering a total of
10,500 km, she collected scattered stories and imprinted memories strewn over
the Australian landscape. Gaining a deeper understanding of the Country’s past,
and of the Indigenous’ sacred connection to the land that has been their home for
thousands of years.
Giving no weight to any one persons, physical representations of individuals
encountered were removed, stories shared are represented through the landscape
in which they were created. Houghton takes into account two conflicting
devotions to the landscape; that of the Indigenous and of contemporary
commercialisation of space through land tourism. Despite the tenuous past of the
nation, there is a shared love of the land, both past and present. It is this parallel
that Houghton aims to highlight with in the work.
Songlines of the Here+Now is a homage to the Indigenous peoples of Australia, a
record of a journey, a collection of landscapes and still-lifes, stories and natural
interventions that explore human experience through listening to the language of
the Australian landscape.