On The Road Again - Preliminary (clip)

Running time: 2min

On The Road Again - Preliminary can be seen as a precursor for an upcoming work or series of works coming out of a road trip from Darwin, Australia, down the West Coast and across to Melbourne.

This particular video came out of a test drive from Darwin to Adelaide River and Batchelor. Six GoPro cameras were attached to the vehicle, one facing in each direction: up, down, forward, back, left, and right. The three views included in the video are forward, down, and the left-hand side as you drive along.

The work was exhibited on a 32 inch TV in portrait orientation, in Refugia, a satellite exhibition of the Darwin Festival, held at the Nan Giese and Northern Editions Galleries at Charles Darwin University, curated by Ian Hance, in August 2019.

The curatorial theme drew on notions of refuge as they might apply to Darwin and the Top End. (The full curatorial statement can be seen below.)

My take on the theme was that a road trip can be an escape, a refuge, from one's everyday life, whether it be a week-end trip or an extended holiday. The end-point of the journey may be the refuge. However, the journey, the driving itself, can also be a refuge - akin to an extended meditation.

Single channel HD/4K video
John Waller 2019

Duration of this clip: 2min
Duration of full work: 37min 53sec, looped


In biology a refugium/refugia is a location which supports an isolated or relict population of a once more widespread species. This isolation can be due to climatic changes, geography or human activities such as deforestation and overhunting. Reference: Wikipedia.

Curatorial statement:
In a broader interpretation of refugia, the Darwin environs has always been a refuge for many peoples not in the least as a traditional land of abundance for the Larrakia Nation. Also, Darwin has had a long history as a place to escape to from social constraints, pursuing law enforcers, or failed relationships to a desire to escape the stresses of the bigger cities. A distancing from the centre often enables us to reflect more clearly on the state of society and ecology. Thus, the comparative isolation of Darwin throws up interesting aspects of refuge. Apart from the sociological it’s positioning within an extreme climate of the wet dry tropics as a green environment create a haven for many species during times of hardship and drought. Anyone who has created a garden in Darwin or indeed the Northern Territory soon discovers that nature moves in immediately. The ecology of Darwin is still relatively intact, and I see this exhibition in part as a reason to celebrate the diversity of its fauna and flora and perhaps to investigate the challenges that its ecology and population face. Thus, this exhibition aims to establish a discourse on the nature of refugia as it applies to our position in the world and its inclusion in the Darwin Festival provides a platform to communicate these expressions.
- Ian Hance, 2019