retelling, untelling

Two Rivers


Created for the 2012 Sarah Scout Presents exhibition "I would breathe water” curated by Kit Wise, retelling, untelling: Two Rivers centres on a game of chance performed by Lily Hibberd exhibition visitors in the gallery space.

In July 2011, Lily travelled through remote regions of Colombia with anthropologist Michael Taussig. It was hoped they would collaborate on a book called Two Rivers. While this work did not come to pass as imagined, in the Medio Magdalena Mick and Lily both took photos with the same Lumix camera. These are reproduced in a book that combines autobiography, myth and historical fiction in a collection of writing, drawings and travel photographs about two colonised rivers.

Two women feature in this dual text: the artist and a writer. Each travels along a river called Magdalena. One describes a recent journey to the heart of Colombia, while her counterpart travels from the source to the mouth of Australia's longest tributary in a continent colonised by the Spanish in 1605. Both women resist colonisation through writing, knowing that they too could be dammed, yet their bodies, desires and political imagination thrive on the river's sovereignty.

For "I would breathe water" Lily was installed in the gallery with a copy of the book, from which she read extracts to visitors. Drawing on her 2007 performance work The Perfect Future Game, the visitor would take a random card from a pack to provide a number that was then correlated to the 2012 calendar year. This number then determined the page to be read from the “Two Rivers" book.

Memory Projects