I just realised last week that it had been two months since writing a blog post. So much has been happening – the end of year break spent visiting family and then launching into 2014 with lots of projects on the horizon.

Maps of the Imaginary - Headland, © Tracey Benson 2014
Maps of the Imaginary – Headland, © Tracey Benson 2014

In my spare time, I seem to be splitting myself between two main activities – making little maps out of old CDs and writing a story. The story started out as just a brain dump of thoughts that might become a short story, but now it is 8,000 words and still growing! Some months ago, I had a conversation with good friend Linda Carroli about the nature of writing on my mediakult blog. At the time, Linda suggested that perhaps just writing something for myself would take me out of the realm of thinking and commenting about how to write, into the domain of the ‘doing’. I am not sure what this work will become, or whether it will ever see the light of day, it doesn’t really matter. It is there for when I can’t sleep at night or needing to document random thoughts, offering a temporary distraction from the here and now into a world that is part reality and part fiction, a collage of thoughts, hopes, experiences and memories.

To escape into this piece of writing and to absorb myself in making imaginary maps is about process, just allowing myself the pleasure of making, with no pressure to keep going or finishing. Quite a different process for me as my nature ordinarily drives me to complete projects, no matter how long and painful – like my nine-year PhD odyssey 🙂

Here is one of the CD maps – this one has been claimed by Marty and my son Lukas. There are lots of others, which I am selling on my new Bytetime Etsy shop – something else I have created in my spare time. I am using a combination of materials – lots of undercoat first, then layers of henna, watercolour paint & pencils and varnish.

Maps of the Imaginary: Polar Shifts, 2014, © Tracey Benson
Maps of the Imaginary: Polar Shifts, 2014, © Tracey Benson

It is great to take the pressure valve off in this way, especially as this year is starting to look really busy with: work, a paper for Water Wheel World Water Day Symposium 2014, another paper at ANU and an exhibition of some  photographs with Geokult collaborator Martin Drury at the Turkish Embassy. We are really looking forward to showing some of these images. Marty and I have over 2,000 photographs of our travels to this amazing country, and it will be a real challenge to cut them down to 12 to 15! We will also be publishing a book to complement the exhibition, which will be a great way of including more photos. This will be Marty’s first exhibition it will be wonderful to see some of his lovely photographs in print and publication! This photograph was taken from inside an old hamam that had been converted into a cafe, located in one of the side streets near the Grand Bazaar.

Hamam Cafe Istanbul, © Martin Drury 2013
Hamam Cafe Istanbul, © Martin Drury 2013

Here is one of my photographs of the Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia) from our first visit in 2011.

Aya Sofya, © Tracey Benson 2011
Aya Sofya, © Tracey Benson 2011

The other project that is on the horizon, is participating in the residency and exhibition at SCANZ2015:water*peace  in New Plymouth next year. We are very much looking forward to getting involved in this wonderful event.

It is no surprise that it seems like the year has taken off at a gallop – it is Chinese year of the Horse – my year – for some reason things always seem to travel fast in a Horse year, which can be fun, as long as you don’t fall off !! Lucky it is a Wood Horse year, which apparently is the most stable of the five elements in Chinese Astrology. Some good fuel for Fire Horses to burn 😀

Rose Valley - horse riding
Rose Valley – Horse Riding, © Tracey Benson 2013

Happy Horse Year !

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About bytetime

Tracey M Benson is a lover of travel, having a diverse background as an artist, writer and researcher. Working with online environments since 1994, Tracey's experience includes providing digital media, web and social media solutions to government, non-profit, private industry and tertiary sectors. Her focus is on sustainability behaviour change and the use of communications and emerging technologies to empower community and build culture.

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Art, Art Projects, Collaboration

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