Birndi Wirndi Worlds Apart
Birndi Wirndi / Worlds Apart, 2010
Digital Projection with stereo sound
30m x 5m
Artists: Sohan Ariel Hayes & Michael Woodley
Produced as part of the inaugural SPACED ART OUT OF PLACE program
Toured Nationally over 2012-3
Our right goes back to the blood of the Ngaarda, on this land. The blood of the Ngaardangarli from being born…the blood of Ngaardangarli from living, and the blood of Ngaardangarli from dying.
If you are looking to put ink on paper, this is our ink on paper. This is how it is associated to us because Yindjibarndi are born on Yindjibarndi country, they live on country and they die on country.
(Woodley M. forthcoming)
These are the words of Michael Woodley, a Yindjibarndi man based in Roebourne, Western Australia. They describe a world view that insists on the significance of place, the rights to country as blood rights born out of the fact of centuries of living and dying on Yindjibarndi land. They affirm a political stance that is still today embroiled in an ongoing battle coming out of decades of colonial abuse of a people and a country. There is an urgency to keep affirming such words, especially for the Yindjibarndi people who are presently fighting for their land rights in the face of looming mining giants. There is also a need to acknowledge the realities of the past and work toward a more hopeful future in the present. This was what concerned Woodley and Perth-based media artist Sohan Ariel Hayes as they embarked on a collaborative art project in Roebourne. This collaboration resulted in the creation of Birndi Wirndi/Worlds Apart, a site-specific documentary projected onto the decommissioned Roebourne pub (Victoria Hotel). This specific site enabled the documentary format to be expanded both formalistically and symbolically in tight relation to the architectural form; the projection was morphed to the shape of the building and its content resonated with the turbulent history of the pub to document a narrative of two worlds caught up in a messy tangle.