Maya Hodge and Jenna Rain Warwick
“(story) Loading… a thread between sisters”
Maya Hodge Nov 3, 2021 7:49 PM (2 days ago)
It’s me. Coming from the technological universe. Ya know, the digital age and all. More and more, we are moving our lives online. Sometimes I don’t know where we begin and end. It’s almost like we have invested a part of our souls in the ethernet. Internet… whatever.
I’ve been pondering how our lives are slowly starting to settle back into a rhythm again. I can’t help but wonder about the endless possibilities of technology, how it expands, and how our stories will continue to unfold through digital space. Sometimes these stories don’t translate... like a Friday night family FaceTime, simultaneously heartwarming and chaotic.
We often sit in silence with our phones; a portal into each other's lives. We speak about what we could be, where we could go and who we could meet. We laugh, breathe out slowly, letting out frustrated sighs as we imagine places beyond our four walls. Ah, that reminds me, I need to download a firewall... I digress.
Sis, we send multiple weekly emails to each other, out into the virtual void, hoping that our words will eventually circle back. We hope to connect with our mob and community through the smattering of pixels on our screen.
Since Invasion, our gathering places have been in constant movement, a consequence of forced displacement. Our people have always known curfews and isolation, but we have also known how to create the space we need to survive together.
We understand that connection comes in many different forms. The digital is just one space we have adapted to in order to survive. Many elements of our culture, our storytelling and our futures, have long since moved online, where they continue to flourish.
Being away from our families, the waterways and the bush has taken its toll on our spirit. I miss Latje Latje Country where I grew up. I miss the river, the saltbush, the mallee heat and the quandong trees.
As our people have always done we adapt to change, re-imagining the ways we wish to connect with one another and share our stories. Our people have had no choice but to survive - and thrive - in the ways we know how. We keep going, we keep yarning and we keep hoping that one day soon we can hold each other in our arms again.
The emails with stories from afar, the workshop zoom rooms, the phone yarns and the family FaceTimes have anchored us to our communities. And we have (kindasorta) made it.
Whenever we yarn, we ask each other “how are you doing?”. Our replies are bot-like and slow. “Good”, we say. I hope one day when we reply “good”, we can say it genuinely, hopefully, and with intention.
The last while has been a tiresome technological experience. But it's been a comfort to realise that through all this madness, our people are still writing, sharing, imagining and practising deep love for our culture, our Country, each other and our loved ones.
Through all this madness we remain resilient and strong.
Jenna Warwick 2:19 PM (25 minutes ago)
Thanks for the email, and for the times and places your words took me as I read them.
There are times when I share such apathy for our electrocuted / kin,
their power assigned willingly... a blanket of bliss;
of nothingness that when uncovered
/ everything seems to move too slow, and not for the purpose of my pleasure.
Pleasure is harvested from the knot in my stomach
it anchors me to this plane, pain is sewn,
but there are no onlookers, no looped track.
Too long for something that isn't yours to deny Country,
to deny a full belly,
there is pleasure in pain.
I can't bring myself to write as if we were speaking and breathing the same air,
I don’t speak with pictures like I can with a document.
I heard a country
that you know a place and home,
the attachment was downloaded screenshot and cropped,
it swam and broke in my hand,
dry clumps of sand crusted from the river.
I miss a place and there is a sting,
a sting of too much grass
and the stink of cow shit,
electric fences and a layer of fluorescent slick on still dammed water.
The pearled face of a waterway that I know danced, danced high and low.
I've seen her formed skin on eroded banks.
pump of water
the cows need constant drink and so do we.
pumps take and send Gubbi Gubbi Country back and fourth...gurgling bubbles,
the serpent sleeps I think.
I feel a swell of vindictiveness when January rolls in
the cows' bellies, full with their young.
They stomp so hard compacting the ground,
the water is half shit and too many flies.
Wild dogs some of them dingos eat the newborn calves
out from their mother’s stomach.
Sometimes I think without regret,
sometimes I am mean.
The stench of industrialised farms makes this love sting and sometimes mean.
Alone in a small blue farmhouse,
I hear every footstep quake the house,
windows open, allowing bulldust to below inside
to rest on every surface
"these fuckin flies"
mum swings a tea towel,
no fly leaves alive.
This is our house
and the spiders and the snakes that nest underneath,
I know when she’s under there because my dogs stay out.
I love it because I got lost,
I used to think there was something special in the sounds at dusk,
how in the middle of the day
the air can get so thick,
thick with equine sweat,
petrol and overturned sediment.
So thick that living on the hill seems like a mirage,
a fever dream.
I know the hills
I know the farmers’ land better than them
I know where the bones pile
in the never touched pocket of forest between two paddocks.
I went there
I saw the bones of cows and other animals in a wild dog’s den.
Less than a square kilometre of rainforest,
a reminder that these paddocks
so hot and filled with grass are only recent.
The world’s so different.
These are the things I think about,
the times I've been alone and quiet
plotting and scheming in dens of wild dogs.
you will come and spend time at my parent's house soon and I’ll show you where to walk and how to hide from the farmers. There's no reception out there
Maya Hodge is a proud Lardil & Yangkaal woman, raised on Latje Latje Country (Mildura). Currently based on Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung Country, Maya is an emerging creative, writer, curator and violinist whose work explores the power of healing in the arts, through uplighting First Nations creativity and Aboriginal women’s autonomy. Maya is currently the Assistant Curator – Exhibitions & Programs at Blak Dot Gallery. Maya is a president artist in this mob collective’s studio based at Collingwood Yards and a founding member of Ensemble Dutala; an all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander chamber ensemble. This year, Maya was awarded joint Runner Up of the SBS Emerging Writers Competition (2021).
Jenna Rain Warwick is an emerging Artist, Curator and published Writer living and working on Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung Country. A proud Luritja Woman, Jenna’s published work speaks to her desire to champion the creative imagination of First Nations peoples. She is adamant that critical engagement with First Nations work should come from First Nations voices first and foremost. Jenna’s work seeks to challenge the notion of objectivity, weaving poetic narration with video and image; to swim between bodies, perspective and times, her creative work echoes each other and is all entangled.