about Seasonal Almanac

Seasonal AlmanacAustinmer is a locality in the City of Wollongong which is part of the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia. Illawarra Tourism labels Wollongong as ‘the gateway to the South Coast’ and claims it to be ‘Australia’s most liveable regional city’. This is where I currently reside.

Having grown up in Hong Kong, spent five of my schooling years in the south-east of England, and the past fifteen years living in Perth, Western Australia, I recently find myself relocated to this part of the world and yet again face the prospect of getting to know a new place.

Finding ourselves in a unfamiliar place is a very modern experience, whether this be relocation, migration, or travel. When I lived in Perth, I spent a number of years engaged in a collaborative project with Redmond called Project X. We went on many expeditions (urban, rural, and bush) and collected data, stories, and photographs. We ended up with archives of newspaper clippings, maps, information, and a lot of images. We later re-worked the project into Konvolut K. The project presented us an avenue through which we got to know Perth – a seemingly bland yet very elusive place.

The idea of a seasonal almanac began with the Autumn Almanac of Tokyo – a project I undertook during my three-month residency in Tokyo. Each day is marked by an entry, recording the weather, an event, or simply a response to the environment. The result is a set of experiences brought together by space and time, in a particular place at a particular time. By constructing a seasonal almanac at home, my intention is the same: to make the experience of a place more tangible.

Like the previous Autumn Almanac of Tokyo, each daily entry is presented as an image, video, and/or audio framed by the specifics of the Chinese solar-terms and pentads. (See About Autumn (Tokyo Studio) or this Wikipedia entry for more information on solar terms.) They are as follows:

List of solar terms

These solar terms are more applicable for the climate of Northern hemisphere high latitude temperate regions. Although the Seasonal Almanac uses equivalent terms for the Southern hemisphere, the descriptions of the terms will inevitably deviate from the climate of Australia, whose seasons have very different characteristics even to regions of similar latitudes in the Northern hemisphere. The intention of providing this contrast is to draw attention to the discrepancies between assumed climate models of seasons and our actual experience of our surroundings.

Comments on the entries are most welcome. Comment authors will receive a response in the form of a postcard (with the image of the entry) in the mail. Like this one:

Start of Autumn 9 of 15

How to use the almanac

– click on ‘Seasonal Almanac’ under ‘Projects’ to go to the 10 latest posts;
– scroll down and click on ‘older entries’ to go to the 10 previous entries;
– click on the titles of the posts or the thumbnail images to go to the posts;
– click ‘next ‘ or ‘previous ‘ to navigate to the entries that follow or precede to the current entry;
– use the ‘Calendar’ and ‘Search’ function to find particular entries by date or by keywords.

Go to the first entry (January 5th, 2009).

Jo Law