Wednesday, September 26, 2007
I have never thought of myself as an Australian artist. I was born in Australia, but I'm also British – or, as I prefer to think of it, European. I can live and work without any red tape in 28 countries.I was raised as a nomad within Australia but I dreamed only of exploring the rest of the world. At age five, I made elaborate plans to go to Europe and later, to explore China's Yangtze River. I sensed even then that I belonged to more than just one place. My parents came from opposite sides of the world – in both a social and a geographical sense – and we spent my early childhood in a odd, alternative world that they created together. My father grew up in Leyton, in London's East End, the old neighbourhood of the Kray brothers. My mother was from what her oldest friend calls colonial landed gentry. When my parents moved away from their pasts, they lived like gypsies. I always expected to do the same when I grew up. Nowadays, not even my few friends could tell you with any precision where I'm living, let alone why. My definition of what constitutes 'home' – or, at least, an ideal of it – is a combination of my favourite parts of different places I've been, and yet nothing to do with an actual location. Home is where I sleep, or where my things are right now. Each place that I've spent time has an equally familiar feeling to me. I have no more loyalty to one than another. And I am no more loyal to a place I have been than to one to which I have yet to go. In many ways, I have more affinity with the latter. They offer new possibilities, more intriguing stimuli, unsolved mysteries.No wonder I sometimes think of myself as ghost, quietly haunting wherever I happen to be. I am intangible, non-specific – then gone.