13.5 C
Byron Shire
May 16, 2021

Interview with Jeanti St Clair, Curater of Flood Stories

Latest News

Bluesfest announces October dates for 2021 festival

After two disappointing cancelations of their event, Bluesfest has announced that they will hold the 2021 festival over the...

Other News

Ageism alive and well

Margaret Boshier, St Ives I have been spending time in the ocean since before I could walk; I grew up...

Doing it right

How do you know you’re doing hummus right? When the international visitors tell you it’s some of the best...

Exotic and hybrid

Dailan Pugh, Byron Bay I was shocked to see the abundant exotic and hybrid plantings at Byron’s new bus interchange. As...

Water outage in Ballina this Thursday

Residents on Crane and Owen Streets in Ballina are advised of a planned water outage this Thursday May 13.

A hands up poll

Helena Norberg-Hodge and John Page, Byron Bay Hands up everyone who wants another high-end tourist resort in Byron: a place...

Free mental health workshop for Byron businesses

Business owners in Byron Shire are invited to attend a free 'Healthy Mindset' workshop aimed at providing them with resources and tools to improve mental health and wellbeing, as well as the opportunity to connect with other business owners.

Flood Stories: An audio walk and storytelling project about the 2017 Lismore flood and recovery. 28 April–6 May, 2021 at Lismore Quad.

Flood Stories

Jeanti St Clair has curated a powerful, immersive audio experience that takes audiences into deep water. She speaks with The Echo about Flood Stories.

We’ve had fires, we’ve had a pandemic; the floods seem so long ago. Why did you decide to focus on these stories?

In late 2019 when I began working on this project, the fires and pandemic hadn’t yet happened. 

I’m very interested in capturing personal perspectives of major events. It’s up close and personal but somehow incredibly universal as well. 

Several storytellers said they hadn’t told their story to anyone yet, and that Flood Stories was the first time they shared their story. It’s been very therapeutic for them, but I think it will be like that for the audience too.

Tell me the basic concept.

Flood Stories is an immersive audio walk and storytelling experience. 

You arrive at the Lismore Quad, and find a shipping container just plonked there, as if it were left by the floodwaters. Inside though are two rows of bright yellow raincoats that run along the walls; and a pair of gumboots sits beneath each raincoat. In the pocket of each raincoat is a small audio player and set of headphones.

Visitors don a raincoat and gumboots, put on the headphones, press Play on the audio player to hear the story of someone who either survived the flood or was part of the rescue and recovery teams. Each storyteller directs the visitor to follow a specific route from The Quad into the Lismore CBD streets before returning to the shipping container. 

What were some of the common themes that came through?

Loss and grief, of course, and discovering what is most important to us. Another big theme was the urge people had to be at home during the flood. And community – how incredible Lismore and the broader Northern Rivers was in supporting, in cleaning up, and in caring for each other. I also asked everyone to reflect on what we learned as a flood town, and what we need to remember for the future. 

What would you like audiences to take from Flood Stories?

A sense of what it was like to be part of a major flood, to be part of a community that really came together to clean-up, to understand that our experiences aren’t too different in some ways.

Flood Stories is also a way for our Northern Rivers community to reflect on our preparedness for future floods and climate emergencies, and we can do this through both telling and listening to our flood stories.

Ironically your show about a natural disaster got put on hold because of a global disaster. 

The plan was for Flood Stories to happen on the flood’s third anniversary because we might have some emotional distance from the event, and could use it as part of the healing process. 

But, bam, we got COVID-ed about 10 days out and decided to postpone for a year. I was gutted but it was the right thing to do. I’m so pleased we are able to share these stories now. They are so powerful. 

Interestingly, we’ve also had a flash flood, two minor floods, and one moderate one since then. 

How have things changed or adapted in what you put out now?

Nothing’s really changed, except the dates. In August for the Shine Festival, I plan to re-version Flood Stories. This will be an app-based montage of the 10 stories, with sound design and music. An immersive ‘blockie’ of the CBD. Keep an eye open for more about that. But this time round, it is just you and one storyteller’s voice. It’s quite intimate in that way.

What should people expect for this season?

Expect to be moved, and probably surprised at how, by walking as if in the shoes (or gumboots) of another person, you can come to understand their experience. 

From Wed until Thurs 6 May starting a The Quad and going through the streets of Lismore. Tix lismorequad.org.au.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Power outage in Byron Shire

Power supply company Essential Energy says that approximately 1,780 homes and businesses were without supply this morning.

Filming of Byron Baes begins with no indigenous consultation

Filming of the Netflix series Byron Baes has reportedly commenced without any effort made by the show's production company – Eureka Productions – to consult with local indigenous groups or the local Council.

Byron Comedy Festival launched with a laugh

At a hilarious sold-out launch of the Byron Comedy Festival, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki had the entire Byron Bay Surf Club giggling last night

School Strike for Climate next Friday

Next Friday from 10am Byron Shire students will be demanding political action on the climate emergency in what they and their supporters say is our present, future and reality.