‘Supporting our hearts’ with the arts

May 15, 2020 BY

Twirling: A frame from Yum Studio’s Yearning. Image: ERIN M MCCUSKEY

TWO commissioned creative collaborations explore and record what life in Ballarat may be like post-pandemic, as part of council’s Be Kind – Be Creative initiative.

Utilising the mediums of poetry, video and music, a team from Yum Studio and a group from Ginkgo Productions have not only looked to what could be, but have shared ideas they want to take through to apply in the city’s future.

Yum Studio’s Erin McCuskey, a filmmaker, worked with poet, Megan Riedl and musical composer, Christine Tammer to make Yearning, a “love letter to the future” which responds to the City of Ballarat’s brief with a “beautifully hopeful message.”

“While we are all different and in different places, and dealing with a lot of technology, we are each all odd and individual, but all look to the one sun, and are warmed by the one sun,” she said.

“The sun comes up every day and can be relied on as something to take us into the future. Our hope also is that after COVID, we remember the kindness, the warmth, and that our earth and sun depend on us continuing to be together.

“We know the lessons of history and hope that we can learn from this.”

Utilising heritage and found footage, the film may prompt viewers to reflect on the concept of time, or be reminded of society today. The trio hopes the piece is memorable and rewatchable, so people take new details away each time it’s viewed.

McCuskey said it was an unusual and interesting collaborative effort because she couldn’t meet her fellow makers, and they had a short amount of time to put each element together.

“We couldn’t go and shoot something… Couldn’t go and listen to, or decide on music together,” she said.

“We talked a lot online about, ‘what does this thing mean to us?’ We often yearn for something different or something else… We often yearn for things that are beyond us…

“Sometimes yearning is a happy or melancholy thing, but it’s a human thing we do together, so we came up with the concept quickly.”

The City of Ballarat sees creativity as key to resilience during and following a crisis. Cr Samantha McIntosh said Yearning, and Ginkgo’s collaboration, COVID poem by Jarrod Hall, poet Justin Hayward and musician Garth Horsfield, have had “compelling and moving outcomes.”

“These two recordings…help capture the moment of what we are living through, as well as providing an important outlet to process our emotions,” she said.

Yum Studio is “incredibly grateful” to council and its Creative City team for acknowledging the value of the arts during such a challenging period.

“This thing is not about information or being a cultural cop. I feel the arts and culture department have created this commission to support the hearts of the residents of this city and beyond,” McCuskey said.

Visit creativeballarat.com.au/stories to view both works.