Coffee in the morgue

A set of sculptures referencing forensic and funereal techniques, drawing on personal and familial memories to create a set of objects embodying anxiety, care, denial and desire, alongside a poem.

Produced for the exhibition Coffee in the morgue at Bus Projects [2017]. This project was facilitated by Madé Spencer-Castle as part of the With Compliments series, which asks a local early-career artist to choose an artist who has influenced their practice. Coffee in the morgue included Sandra, a video work by Stanya Kahn, and Bed II, an etching by Louise Bourgeois. With an accompanying catalogue essay written by Amelia Winata.

Elements of this work have also been exhibited in We, a group exhibition at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre [2018] curated by Renee Cosgrave and presenting a number of early-career artists working in the Darebin area. Artists involved included Julian Aubrey Smith, Beth Caird, Georgina Criddle, Briony Galligan, Jethro Harcourt, Rosie Isaac, Warren O'Brien and Lucreccia Quintanilla.

Edge of body rimmed with something brittle

Imagined as hull, or two parts with seam

Salmon bakes in the bricks my belly swells

I am imbibed by ants and mosquitos

Here for reminiscence, the first scent

Smoking a Corona and driving me back to the city

He explains to me the difference between archaeology and geology

One contains no humans

Just daddy's hands, a golden parachute

The smell of metal makes me feel sick

She ate in the morgue

Complained about the coffee, opines to me a lineage

A fiction about embalming

A suppressant against erection

Grinding eggshells and sculling vinegar

I thought of the strawberry in the house by the hospital

Hyacinths in the yard and first blue October

I ate it whole, leaves and all

Failed to make a distinction: chicken scratching

In search of the grain, eyes straining

As anacrusis she filled in my memory, the buzzing in her ear

The hand that drained the ether from lacustrine darkness

Like organs leeching in the heat

I sleep with hair over, covers pulled up

Shielded from the buzzing that threatens my kilter

He keeps a bear head in the roof

The roof of his head is golden

He shot a snake he

Came face to face with a white muzzle on a white background

He felt fear for the only time in his life

Lens finds a face in darkness

And I registered something metallic in the wipe

In shadows on a hot day, in lashes and moustaches

But I have learned to swallow those aversions

A force of blushful habit

She told me about him as I bit the apple

A clear sweet syrup dried

I dreamed of another man's house last night, seeping earthwards in the middle

Every time I come here I am met with prickly pear and sticky sweet

Takeaways for the year ahead

His son pulled a rifle in the dining hall

Second hand carbon rustling arms

For a moment it points in my direction

Embracing, mouths open I think of boars

I smell salmon, I think of bears

Photographs courtesy Christo Crocker