En échelon: A story about holes
In the ruins of a farmhouse, a lamplight flickers on and off, transmitting the jitters of the earth. The bed long-abandoned, the nightstand continues signalling to the cosmos. A ladder points In the ruins of a farmhouse, a lamplight flickers on and off, transmitting the jitters of the earth. The bed long-abandoned, the nightstand continues signalling to the cosmos. A ladder points upwards to the sky. Packets of seismic data arriving in near-real time from the internet are contrasted with records of the 1968 Meckering Earthquake. Fault lines brought down houses and erupted crossed salty creeks. Today, many ephemeral traces of the earthquake have been eroded but a low snaking scarp remains. Australia is moving north at a rate of up to 7 cm per year, but this does not appear fast enough to be responding to the pressures around us. When the ground jerks, en échelon cracks occur that are like creeping ladders of holes. These cracks can cross scales: mirrored in rock cracks to fault swarms – all responding to the same shearing stresses. Reversing the usual models, how does lithic plasticity and deformation impel human slipping, cracking and shifting?
Dr Perdita Phillips is an Australian interdisciplinary artist, researcher and walker living on unceded Whajuk Noongar land. Working across installation, environmental projects, walking, sound, video, publishing and object making, ‘ecosystemic thinking’ is manifest in often collaborative walks such as Dealing with the runoff (2019), multispecies listenings (Wattie (2018) and A forecast of rain (Derbarl Yerrigan) 2020) and books such as fossil III (as part of the Lost Rocks project, 2019). In the past she was the recipient for two Intra-arts Australia Council grant funded residencies at Symbiotica UWA and recently took part in the We Must Get Together Some Time slow art collaborative project, funded by the State Government of Western Australia.