Julie Vulcan is an interdisciplinary artist, researcher and writer. This project #afterthefire #daybyday began as an Instagram feed and has become a webpage visual diary: https://julievulcan.net/afterthefire-daybyday/
#afterthefire #daybyday, like my work generally, attempts to offer a springboard from its focused subject matter. This work began as an Instagram-based project documenting my one-year visual journey of living on and with post-fire land. It started on the first of January 2020, ten days after the fire came through our home and four days after we could return to live in our modest marooned house amidst the ash of our once-bush home. Initially the camera was my buffer helping me process the devastating change. Quickly it became a way to focus on details as I sought out beauty and life in the small things. Over time it is becoming an archive of lessons learnt from a regenerating bushland.
This work, #afterthefire setting the table, like my work generally, attempts to offer a springboard from its focused subject matter. The invitation is to take time, slow down, see the detail, and consider a different or more complex view. My work is in counterpoint to dominant streams of thought or action engaging with a fast product-driven capitalist economy and its short-term quick fix solutions.
The events of 2020 brought to a head the many inequities and divides, we as humans, have been living with for a long time. At the same time I have had to withdraw some of my activity and output to focus my energy on my own care and the recovery of the home I share with my partner, critters, creatures and plants. The bushfire and the regenerating bush are currently my teachers and they remind me what is important. However, I am conscious that my smaller focused and embedded actions in the present still have ripple effects that do, and will continue to, speak to greater issues at large.
My art practice is embedded in my life practice. Everything I make is in response to, or concerned with, how I as a human participate in this world and the types of relationships humans choose to enact with the things that make up this world. So my work is an extension of my life experience. In this sense it is like an expanding carrier bag (to use Ursula Le Guin’s term) providing me with a collection of responsive tools for different situations and times. I think this is also reflected in the way I choose to work across disciplines enabling me to nimbly switch modes and to not be attached to a particular form.
I would interpret ‘The Making Effect’ as a process that asks you ‘to be with’ an experience while allowing emotions, images, words, and actions to unfold without judgement. It is almost a compulsion without any real understanding of what it might be in the long run. Similar to the processes of grief, there is an initial intensity and then with distance a clarity and understanding.
I am always thinking, dreaming, responding to what is around me with what you might call an artist’s multi-sensory attention. I don’t know how to be any other way and it is integral to who I am and my wellbeing. By extension the works and worlds of other artists are part of this sensibility. I find so much joy and inspiration in the creativity of others as well as serious provocations and hard questions. I would find it hard to imagine not having access to such work and thought.
More of Julie’s work can be found at https://julievulcan.net/afterthefire-daybyday/