magic in melbourne

I'm down in Melbourne for NUCA's participation in Resistance thru Rituals, which opened on Thursday night June 24. Andrew Harper, the witch from Hobart and Australia's 24th Most UnCollectable Artist, made the trip to Melbourne for the show. At the Westspace opening on Thursday night, he performed part 4 of his "Flying Spell" – an ongoing series of incantations which, from my meagre understanding of all things witchy, is about transformation and movement. This spell is a positive progression from his previous "Celluloid Curse Against the Current Government" (completed a year ago) in which John Howard was cursed, not to die per se, but simply to "know what it's like to be me" – and I'm thinking Harper's undertaking was no small task.

The curses and spells themselves take the form of a continuous barrage of screaming-banshee diatribe which alternates between Harper's endearing Tassie-ocker directness, and an anachronistic channeling of olde-englishe beseechings (full of "thee, thou, dost", etc). When casting spells, he simultaneously projects super8 films full of "shadowy" images. In the case of "The Celluloid Curse", the film was burnt, along with hair clippings and fluid drippings donated by members of the "audience" – and the ashes sent to our esteemed national leader in the mail.

One somewhat sceptical spell-witness on Thursday night wondered when the FLYING would kick in, given that it was a "Flying Spell" Harper was enacting. When questioned, Harper was philosophical – he didn't exactly know, since the spell was only up to part 4 (perhaps half-way through?) – or what form it might take. But he DID say that he had started the spells just before becoming part of the Network of UnCollectable Artists, a serendipitous connection that had resulted in his "flying" to Melbourne this week. So perhaps our Tassie Witch is already working his magic…

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