Stuck in traffic.
I like to explore and visit places – especially ones rich in history. I heard about Aradale through a pamphlet “Ghost tours – Lunatic asylum” – complete with salacious language and spooky font. But I wasn’t really interested in a sleep over with people I don’t know. Even the very thought of that makes me anxious, however I looked it up online and saw that there were day time tours too.
The website is here: Aradale Tour Information
We learnt about people like self mutilator Garry Webb ( interesting write up about his case here: Garry Webb Discussion )
He had cut off his own penis three times – it was really interesting what the guide told us, but a bit disconcerting how many people from the tour group mumbled how it was “good” he killed himself and “he should have done it earlier” and when the guide told us his girlfriend killed herself not too long ago, the same reaction.
The nurses quarters were interesting too – it was an opportunity for the local girls. However they had to live on the site for their three year training and had curfews.
The women’s hospital was sad – isolation rooms for when they were ‘distressed’. The paint colour and details in the window shutters reminded me of quaint little towns I had visited in Germany.
TC1 – Training Client 1, were the people who had just arrived to the asylum. The guide told us that 15 ( ward 15 ) required soft food, as they had no teeth.
I felt this space to be reminiscent of a set from a Tim Burton film. It was so odd, the rest of the place was like a rabbit warren with tiny rooms. Then you came out to here and it was just huge, a wide open space that overwhelmed and dazzled.
At this point the guide was talking about women being committed who were suffering post natal depression. I wandered off to photograph other things and didn’t really listen as I still find that stuff very difficult to listen too. Apparently he had said that some of them never came out again.
The men’s quarters was more run down, it had been vandalised. It was a little bit more eerie at this point.
The morgue wasn’t as disturbing as some I had seen, a few people hopped up onto the tray. If you look online there’s a number of people posing on it – each to their own, I guess!
I really enjoyed the two hour tour, the guides were informative and very funny. I’m still reading up on history about this place and I wasn’t as affected by the space as I thought I may have been.
Marianne Latham contacted me as she is putting together a documentary about the nude in art. She was interviewing people in regard to the Benalla Nude but others as well. I really look forward to seeing the full doco! But she put together this short of me – I feel really humbled that Marianne wanted to come into my space and ask me about my work and my thoughts. It’s also rather timely as well – because I really need to write a new artist statement soon and this ( plus another interview I did, which is not yet online ) have really got me thinking about what is important to me in my work.
Thank you Marianne!