Recently returned to The Capital, cultural agent M. Athol Hepburn is secretly contracted by a party, who must as yet remain anonymous, to assist in creating the conditions for the telling of a shocking story that will change the lives of its citizens, and even the nation’s populace, for evermore.
While the celebrations of the centenary of the nation’s capital city commence and move ahead apace, Hepburn and a hand-picked crew begin a series of underground events, under the umbrella of cultural phenomenon and fringe centenary organisation, Centenary Edge, to sow the seeds of interest in the true story behind the building of The Capital and the architects of the corruption of its guiding principles.
Centenary Edge first produces a ‘Catalytic Art Ceremony’ as the culmination of interactive art activities at the wonderful Village Festival in Glebe Park. Playing out against the backdrop of The Capital’s boosteristic birthday brouhaha, and at the auspicious time of the autumn equinox, one of the ceremony’s effects is to divert some of the energy of the government sanctioned Centenary celebrations into the nascent Centenary Edge and its inaugural project, to be known as ‘Blood & Mortar’. As a savagely beautiful gorilla celebrant sets fire to the crown of a magnificent giant female effigy (‘of Wish Fulfilment’), and the smoke from secret offerings rises to the twilit sky, an Arcimboldo-esque masked Fool (self-titled ‘Herald of The Edge’) cries out: “We have arrived at the Edge of the Night and of the dark side of the Year. Believe What You Will… from here!” Then the entrancing sounds of Orbis Tertius playing live on the backdrop stage, the music of the Dimension of the Mind, washes over all present. To a dance of ecstasy and awe, the ‘Blood & Mortar’ project is born.
Not yet in a position to explain the specific imperative behind ‘Blood & Mortar’, Centenary Edge then moves fast in accord with its plan to roll out a program demonstrating what may be achieved culturally and artistically with as little regulation from the government as possible. Committed people gather at secret soirees at first, and more formal meetings are held. Hepburn and his young associate, one Alex Harker, collaborating with a crack team of guerrilla artists, enact the decision to disseminate the back-story to The Capital’s deepest darkest secret through the agency of a series of ‘picture cards’ presenting pieces of said story along with embedded keys to the very mysteries of which the story is part. Each card’s release coincides with a date auspicious beyond the vagrancies of society, economics and politics; marking thus far The Southern Day of The Dead and a Penumbral Eclipse of the Full Moon, and side-tracking via the culturally auspicious opening of fellow cultural agent Teffany Thiedeman’s cuttingly critical whilst sublimely beautiful exhibition ‘Abode’. Having first cracked open the doors of perception with its equinoctial Catalytic Art Ceremony, the ‘Blood & Mortar’ team, guided by ceremonial activist Hepburn, prises them further apart with these observances. Hence the ‘Blood & Mortar’ project steps out of the shadows and into a devised energy vortex readying to launch its time-travelling back-story course upon a largely unsuspecting public…