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Without a Sound - Lake Sorell

Melissa Smith
Oil based ink on paper • 96 × 188 cm

‘Refiguring the Silence of Euro-Australian Landscapes’, an essay by Nicholas Kankahainen identifies the linguistic disjunctions that underpinned descriptions of the country as ‘silent’, and explores the way ‘silence’ was used as a means of obscuring the uncertainties that emerged as a result. He argues however, that this silence is not one that necessarily needs to be broken. He references the work of poet Judith Wright, to show how more ecologically-sensitive approaches to the landscape have led to a re-figuring of this silence as a signifier of meaning and complexity that lies beyond the grasp of language. He states that the perceived silence of some aspects of nature is an integral part of our experience of it.

Lake Sorell on the Central Plateau of Tasmania is a landscape, which has a silence but not one associated with absence. Just as Wright identifies in her poem titled ‘Scribbly Gum’ the ‘written track’ of the scribbly gum moth revealed beneath the bark of the eucalypt cannot be deciphered: rhetorical silence is replaced by a network of communicative noise. Through listening to this landscape a greater sense of peace and understanding can be found.