AIR 2011 – Nick Hobbs and Freya Sant at Mountain Heights School Queenstown, Tasmania
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AIR 2011 – Nick Hobbs and Freya Sant at Mountain Heights School Queenstown, Tasmania

[SOFT BACKGROUND MUSIC] … rains too much, they think that seeding the clouds helps the dams … … you can’t drink our water … … it’s yummy … … yeah – unless … … it is nice actually … … it’s brown but it’s nice …
… because it’s there I’m just used to drinking it … the tap water I’ll drink it… Really when we got here we were so affected by the place with the mining landscape the effect that it’s had on the environment and then the natural environment that is so contrasting and that’s quite a moving thing I found that very affecting and the isolation is also very affecting and seeing the affect the isolation has on a community we essentially went – lets let this place seep into us and see what comes of that Art making for me is a process of discovery, its really about searching so while I can have some idea of where I want to get to I actually enjoy the process of just going on the journey and when you’re an artist and you come into a new context the way you worked before or the way you
approach things before doesn’t always hold true to where you are now so there is always a certain amount of reinventing that has to go on and that’s what has been going on here I guess Mountain Heights School is situated in Queenstown which is on the West Coast of Tasmania and the students at Mountain Hights School come from Zeehan, Straun, Gormanston and surrounding areas. Many of our students have experienced
trauma in their lives so students find sometimes participation in a regular school program quite challenging so we find lots of alternative programs for them to participate in the AIR program was offered to all
students in grade 9 to 10 so we held a student assembly where we offered the program to our grade 9-10 students and students could opt-in basically what we want to do is sit
down with the students without any ideas of what we were going to do and and we started to record their conversations and we’d ask them about their life in Queenstown, about the things they do about … things that happen to us and get them to explain why is it that there are rocks showering down on our roof at 8 o’clock in the night If I was like trying to hit that building over there I’d probably throw it from here because I can reach that… by the time you throw it you could just walk off… or if you run… to get to your hiding spot quicker from those stories we’d get little
snippets – Queenstown legends that the stories going around and we would take those stories and
start to build upon them in a visual way just trying to find a visual equivalent for some of the stories that they had been talking about so that it’s not a foreign experience to themselves and so the art that gets made still reflects them [BACKGROUND MUSIC & STUDENTS TALKING IN BACKGROUND] when they came in we’d always have ideas about what we were going to do and if that wasn’t feeling like it was really going anywhere we’d always change tact that’s been a new thing for them that you can come into a space and go that’s not working – let’s try this, we can play with those ideas, and then it turns into something it was good to be able to just have a say in what you were going to do and what you’re going to draw you kind of forget everything else and you just know that this is kind of the moment this is just like what you remember all the fun stuff we did with everyone – just making art I thought it would have been a bit more structured but then at the same time it’s fun because you’re thinking – we’ll it might be like this, but at the same time it might be like that and it’s definitely not going to be the one thing it could just turn in an instant life isn’t just a straight forward path, it has deviations you might do one thing which leads to other things but then that next thing could lead you to something completely different when you wake up in the morning it’s something to look forward to art isn’t just painting a picture and it being spectacular it’s more than that we always look forward to it we didn’t look forward to school that much but on that days that we had this program we always wanted to come so we could do that I just realised that it could be anything it doesn’t have to be drawing or painting it could be movement, light, pictures – anything They’ve often talked to Nick and Freya in quite detail about a variety of things and we’ve learned a lot about – well I’ve learned a lot about their thoughts about their school, their community and about the arts just through their conversations this opportunity has really just been a way of opening up all those new little paths and now I feel when we leave and we get our own studio again that we – that we just continue on those little openings the relationships that have been built here have been really significant I think in terms of
my own learning working with the students has been really – a really important process, in me exploring what I do

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