Whirling Dervishes Spiralling Through the Great Vertical

The Ross Coulter viewing at the State Library of Victoria - 4 July 2011


Last Monday Ross Coulter, the 2010 Georges Mora Foundation Fellow, managed to pin about sixty people obediently to their seats for forty five minutes in total silence. Nobody spoke – not a squeak was heard as we watched the passage of any amount of white paper planes spiral down through the splendid space of the State Library of Victoria’s reading room –one of the great interiors of Australia.

Timing was all. The slowness was mesmerising. The camera – always turning – followed the first planes as they appeared….these seemed to be mostly tentative, venturing out as if they were casing the joint, sniffing the air and listening up while slowly, slowly winding down.

They were followed by a gradual build up of an increase of spiralling planes always graceful, determinedly individual and as the number grew the camera would move - incrementally - further down through the space as if it were stroking the walls and the balconies while the planes flew and somersaulted towards the floor as if they had been co-opted into celebrating the air itself.

Eventually we could start to see the floor where the drifts of landed planes were scattered in such a way as to echo the irregular dashes of white paper on the books lining the walls of the misleading ‘ground’ floor.

The meditative sense of suspension, of time slowing into another measurement and of a feather-light infinite pleasure, came to a halt, leaving the audience to adjust back to grounded, ordinary life and time.

Ross and his Squadron have achieved something of great beauty and resonance. What’s more he is not finished so now we wait for the next stage in this enervescent display of free floating imagination.

Written by: Caroline Williams Mora, 11 July 2011
Photo credit: Ross Coulter