Farmers and their cartons in FNQ.

It only really occurred to me late on the second day of the FNQ trip to get photographs of each of the farmers holding their fruit cartons, but I’m glad I got the ones I did. Thanks very much to all the folks who gave their precious time to a strange blow-in who collects lids. Thank you all for your good humour and generous hospitality, and I hope to visit you again soon (next time with a video camera).
DSC_0641 copyNoel Stevenson with a stack of his SUPER BANANAS. I arrived just as the truck pulled in to collect his load. I also like the colour of Stevo’s forklift.

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FNQ Day 3 – Up to the tablelands.

DSC_0768 Day 3 of the trip was a little more relax-a-tron than previous days. Claire was arriving from Sydney and we were checking into our hotel room at after midday in Cairns meaning that our day on the road would be a lot shorter. I packed up my things in the Moondarra Motel and bade farewell to Jim, the softly spoken but friendly motel proprietor. As I left I realised that there was a family (or some collection of humans) that had been sitting outside their motel room for the entirety of my stay. Unlike the other guests at the motel they had a table to sit at while the congregation grew and shrunk. I was curious to know: had they taken their holidays at the Moondarra? I like motels but the thought of hanging out in one for longer than is absolutely necessary is, quite frankly, an odd thought. Continue reading “FNQ Day 3 – Up to the tablelands.”

FNQ Day 2 – The Banana Farmer

It was another glorious day in FNQ. The temperature was perfect and the humidity virtually zero. I rose a little later than I’d planned and went for breakfast across the road at this lovely little restaurant with a Scottish name, which happened to also have a drive thru.  As I munched on my hash brown and English muffin I got the strange feeling I’d been here before.

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Far North Queensland (FNQ) – Day 1.

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Arriving in Cairns the first thing I noticed was the hills, which kind of look like small mountains all around the region. They are quite dramatic and their shape adds to the sense that you are in a  tropical location. The kind of not-quite-mountains that you might see in a brochure for some beautiful South-East Asian location; a photo that includes the front of the boat you would be travelling on emerging from the lower part of the frame.

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Behold! The Cartonographic!

The Cartonographic is a limited edition print currently in production (a developmental line drawing is shown in the image below) created out of writings on the Cartonography collection on this blog. The print will be manufactured on cardboard using the same methods used to make fruit cartons – it will essentially be a fruit carton in its own right – and will be the centrepiece of the Cartonography Exhibition at the Bondi Pavilion on the 22nd of October 2014. Funds raised from the sale of the Cartonographic will be used to expand the Cartonography collection to document the stories of farmers and agricultural communities across Australia.

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Emblematica – The fruit box as coat of arms.

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When I was six my family moved from Ireland to Australia. Considering I have only patchy memories of being 6, this day is remarkably strong in my memory. There are many parts of the journey that I can remember clearly: the car trip to the airport in Dublin; the ground disappearing rapidly beneath us as we took off over the Irish Sea; flying across never-ending sandy ridges in the middle east; asking Dad when we stepped onto the tarmac in Saudi Arabia if the plane engine was the source of the intense heat. It wasn’t, he told me, it was just damn hot. I remember stopping in Singapore and shopping for a Commodore 64, and I remember the excitement of approaching Sydney as the sun rose through the tiny windows on the plane. What I really remember though, or at least what is stronger as an image in my mind’s eye than any other, is when we were waiting for a connecting flight to Armidale in a small, quiet terminal at Sydney Airport. I remember it because as we waited I stood near a floor-to-ceiling glass façade looking out over the broad expanse of the runways and there was this enormous blue sky with barely a cloud in it. It was a sky I’d never seen before, and the light from the sun gave everything a sensational clarity.

 

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Holy Fruit! Fruit boxes and solar imagery

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In the Sacred Heart image in Christian iconography Jesus opens his cloak to reveal his heart, which is floating outside his chest. It has a crown of thorns and a crucifix on top with some little flames licking about the cross. It is not the weirdness of disembodied hovering heart that constitutes my interest in this common religious image though, but the rays of light that are coming from behind it.

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Sexy Fruit – The Fruit Box and the Female Form

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There are a few factors that distinguish Australian fruit boxes from their international counterparts. I am yet to do a comprehensive comparative study but I have noted in my travels, for example, that there is a dearth of fruity characters and general humour in American or European boxes; factors that seem to be common on boxes from down under. Of course, there are many Australian boxes that take the more sedate route in design, but on the whole it is those that have peculiarities that tend to stand out as representatives of their tradition.

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Cartonography

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Over the last twelve months or so I have been collecting fruit boxes. I have in the order of 300 boxes in my collection, which are bunched together with tape and piled up in my studio. They are numerous and not particularly small in their numerousness. They are becoming a little annoying actually. But they shan’t be thrown way. At least not until I find what I am looking for – or rather until I have exhausted all possible avenues of enquiry on the fruit box…

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The Gnomenclature of Anthropuns

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One of my favourite jokes involves two nuns driving through Transylvania.
Sister Bernadette and Sister Josephine proceed cautiously along an intrepid, winding road wary that they are in vampire territory. Out of nowhere an anthropomorphic bat-thing lands on their windscreen with a thud and gives a spittle-ridden, fangy hiss through the glass.

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