by Fairskye, Merilyn


Figuring Landscapes

Through a series of interviews and aerial views of the land, Connected reveals the uneasy relationship of the inhabitants of Alice Springs to Pine Gap, a US-Australian Joint Defence Space Research facility sited 17 miles out of town.

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Alice Springs is one of the most isolated towns in Australia. In December 1966 an agreement was signed that allowed the construction of Pine Gap, a US-Australian Joint Defence Space Research facility as a base for global satellite technology and one of the largest ground control centres in the world, just 17 kilometres outside of Alice. The base connected the world to Pine Gap. This work considers how disembodied and shadowy the experience of being constantly connected can be for the locals. A Pine Gap modus operandi is adopted. Sites are monitored, from the air and from the ground – Anzac Hill; the airport; Hermannsburg Mission; Katja Tjuta – to create a sense of a town and a landscape inhabited by shadows, mirages, and reflections. People inhabit this space tenuously. You never see them. You hear from them, or about them. Everyone around Alice Springs has a story, or a friend with a story, that connects them to the base. These anecdotes interweave with intercepts from recent news reports; ambient sounds; static; Morse code from Telegraph Station, the roar of road trains speeding down the Stuart Highway; a lone didgeridoo.


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