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ArtKeeper Update: Fletcher Babb Mid-Way Check In

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ArtKeeper Update: Fletcher Babb Mid-Way Check In

Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and sound designer Fletcher Babb crafts stories through song writing, utilising it as a vehicle for stories, both real and imagined.

#Check in with Fletcher below as he reached the mid-way point of his HOTA ArtKeeper residency.

How have you been going about researching the Nerang River during ArtKeeper?

FB: I am taking a holistic approach to my research in this project so as to cast a wide net in the song writing process. I have been researching online and via the Local Studies Library which is a great resource in Gold Coast and South-East Queensland history, environment and culture. I have also been meeting with a variety of people who have connections to the river and listening to their stories and experiences. I have also been going out into the field and recording the environments and recording my music in these environments. On top of this, I am regularly writing and observing around the Evandale Parklands where the Nerang River snakes around, looking for inspiration in my work environment at HOTA.

What is something you’ve learned or discovered during the process so far?

FB: That eels have the most extraordinary life cycle. I will not get too technical (I am not a marine biologist) ...but eels from all over the east coast (including The Nerang) migrate out into the Coral Sea where they nest deep down (no one really knows exactly where yet) and birth their little baby eels. These eels are transparent until they find their way back to the rivers of the east coast (and New Zealand) and when back in fresh water start to get their darker colours. The migration back to the upper creeks and rivers are called ‘eel fares’ and the eels are called elvers. So cool.

Given the co-working setup of the ArtKeeper studio, natural synergies between the artists and their projects/practices tend to emerge. Can you reflect on your experience in the studio so far?

FB: The four of us have been great sounding boards for each other's ideas. We generally talk about our products and processes quite a lot, which has already fed into each other's practice. Nic has done some movement and dance with Nadia, Norton and I have made a little field trip together to an art gallery and I have stolen some creative prompt ideas from Nadia’s book collection. It is a very healthy creative space.

Will people be able to get a preview of some of the songs while you’re in residence? 

FB: Yes! I will be doing a pop-up performance at HOTA in June (stay tuned for details!), showcasing my Nerang River songs in the river’s own presence.

I will also be doing a song writing workshop with a local high school at HOTA in March. This is going to be a fantastic opportunity to explore my Nerang River song writing process with a group of music students, responding to the environment and spaces around the HOTA precinct and Evandale Parklands. I am very curious to see what sort of creative song ideas they might come up with. 


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HOTA proudly acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout South East Queensland.

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