A reflection on his residency by Jet Kye Chong

“The last full day of residence at ‘All That We Are’ draws to a close, and reflecting on the past week, I realise that it is a real challenge to encapsulate all that it has been. My initial thoughts on arrival were of warmth, sincerity, and a healthy, down-to-earth realism. Victoria picked me up from the airport, and along the journey we stopped by a beach to walk the dogs, and picked up groceries. Throughout the week, from the welcome brunch with their artistic connections and friends, to corridor chats and planning carpools to town, Vic and Simon seemed like old friends. They were not sharing their house, but rather their home. But it is indeed a special home – considering the deep-rooted artistic practice held by the family, it makes sense that every aspect of residing here channels creative focus. The expansive view of Pipe Clay Lagoon (below), echoed by the abundant space (half the house!) for creative work made for such natural productivity that my ideas had to catch up to my rate of work! Birdsong filters in, a gentle soundtrack throughout the house, but a short walk took me through bush to the lagoon – beautiful wetlands that exhibit unique fields of colour and an active soundscape. In this home, Between inspiration walks by day and work by night, I found myself motivated to complete two recent commissions and compose two fresh works within the week.

So far I have unjustly made the residence out to be a glorified study, where it is far more. Perhaps from the combination of the warmth and creative philosophy pervading the home, or perhaps from something more intangible, the home embodied to me a strong freedom to create, or not, for a purpose, or for its own sake, without judgement. Freedom to play. Of all the incredibly valuable experiences this residency has provided, this provision of time, space and freedom to realise silly ideas, do things that will never work and make mistakes, has the biggest impression on me; that for all of the inspirations waiting outside the window, I found just as valuable inspirations within.

I barely scratch the surface of all that it is, but it’s undoubtedly one of those deeply rich experiences that will keep giving profound thoughts or eureka moments when I least expect it, even from a single week. I’d like to give huge thanks to Vic and Simon, and the Scarlet’s Fund in support of the Flinders Quartet’s composition program for bringing me here. I look forward to coming back!”

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