We drift towards what we cannot have

animation: Lisa Roberts
Sydney 2008

words: with Hobart Hughes
Sydney 2008

face: with Christine McMillan
Sydney 2008

sound: Jon Hizzard, Flinders Island 2003
and Max Eastley, London, 2008 (with permission from David Buckland)


We drift towards the things
we cannot have.

Hobart Hughes, Sydney 2008


Sound evokes an ancient ritual.
Bells echo the rhythm
of slow treading feet.
A sense of human presence,
in Antarctic space and time,
is held between their rings.
As white space fades to black,
plucked stringed instruments gather
like crystals of ice.
Particles spiral
from passing snow drifts.
Circling patterns emerge.
Like mandalas,
they hold a central focus.

Spiralling, circling
particles represent key elements
in the Antarctic ecosystem:
diatoms, krill, water molecules,
the circumpolar current.


We were drinking coffee,
me talking about Antarctica,
Hobart talking about a desert with no name -
some canyon somehwere, Utah I think,
with a spiral carved into rock.
A nearby rock casts its shadow over it -
a profile of a human face.
Through the year,
his shadow marks the seasons:

Spiral under the chin (winter)
Spiral in the nose - (spring)
Spiral in the the eye - (summer)

It's good that we can't
Google that place, I said
(like most of Antarctica).
He said, Funny how we drift towards
the things we cannot have.