Careful Messenger is my current residency and project for the State Library. It was inspired by my grandfather Stirling Blacket’s time as a dispatch rider in Gallipoli, relaying and confirming messages from command on his horse. In the two-channel work a horse gallops in the left panel while in the right panel the horse pants exhausted with closed eyes, turning its head towards the viewer.
Here Blacket’s horse appears as a modern day messenger, a search engine working overtime for research. In formally combining these two resonating images, the work suggests that the labour and commitments of research and information delivery, is just as critical to us today as Blacket’s missions and should be approached with the same caution and vigilance.
Below are some images from my family, research in the library and test renders.
My Grandfather's horse.
Sequence of stills from Careful Messenger, 2008 (right panel).
Install shots coming
An image of a dispatch rider at Galipolli. My grandfather was not sure if this was him or his mate.
Image awm.gov.au Ref G0059 originally The Anzacs by Patsy Adam Smith (Held Australian War Memorial)
I distinctly remember the time the photographer got permission to take the photo. He had a valuable camera and valued himself. It was hard to take photo's in a safe place to avoid you or the photographer getting shot up. The place I suggested was a quiet little beach on Anzac cove, with just a couple of graves there. I told this photographer that one of us would ride around there so he could take photo's. That goes down well with the public when they see someone galloping around. So we did a canter around for him while we were sitting upright on the horse and he took these photo's. We couldn't ride fast as there was a lot of traffic. When dispatch riding we would crouch over the neck of the horse, to avoid getting shot.
from Stirling Blacket Interview Transcripts compiled by David Blacket (Fourth draft March 12, 1995)
Thanks go to Chris Barker, Artworkers, State Library of Queensland, Bergita Shannon, Rachel O'Reilly and my cousins, David and Sally for assisting me with research.