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Tuesday, May 29, 2018


by Martha Landman

The artist Mike Parr will be buried underneath a road for three days as part of a new performance work at this year’s Dark Mofo festival in Hobart. Parr will be buried below the bitumen in the central lane of Macquarie Street, which passes through the Hobart city centre, in a container measuring 4.5 metres by 1.7 metres by 2.2 metres, and the road will be resealed once the container is in place for traffic to continue as normal over the site. The work, entitled Underneath the Bitumen the Artist, is intended to be a comment on the violence of Australia’s colonial history. It will begin at 9pm on Thursday 14 June when the container is buried, and close at 9pm on Sunday 17 June, when Parr will make his exit. “When Mike Parr asks to be buried under the streets of Hobart, it’s hard to say no,” the Dark Mofo creative director, Leigh Carmichael, said in a statement.“Underneath the Bitumen the Artist acknowledges two deeply linked events in Tasmania’s history. The eventual transportation of 75,000 British and Irish convicts in the first half of the 19th century, and the subsequent, nearly total destruction of Tasmania’s Aboriginal population.” —The Guardian, May 25, 2018 Photo: Dotted white lines mark the spot where the hole for artist Mike Parr will be dug. —msn news, May 26, 2018

Let me be your experiment
I have nothing left to do
take me in your solemn arm
drown me in bloodshot eyes

Eat my fingers, my toes
I’m barefoot, supple as an apple
sip me through a bloody mary

thirty years’ fasting
unleashes a wishbone,
rainbows! Devour them!

Bury my madness in your rib cage
Paint me underground, taste the danger
                               beneath the surface

paint brushes, sketchpads, grinders explode —
a fire stoked in total silence
your walls breathe me

Mike Parr being painted in his own blood for his 2016 performance art piece Jackson Pollock the Female. Photograph: NGA via The Guardian, August 17, 2016.

Martha Landman lives in Adelaide, Australia.  Her work has appeared in various online journals and other anthologies.