Hero(es) by Aaron Claringbold and Rebecca McCauley

A group of people paddle boarding on the Murray River, seen from far away.
A group of people paddle boarding on the Murray River, seen from far away.
Aaron Claringbold & Rebecca McCauley, Hero(es), 2019, Single Channel Digital Video with Audio. 7 min 9 sec. Image courtesy the artist.

22 May - 5 June 2020

1. hoy!

what would churn interest?
to simply not re-enact?
to recede into something other
than an eco skirmish,
just like this…

what numbers please,
To have the confidence to
name this instead
with M:
mass-acres of fresh lively grass
laid flat
by trailers’ grilled feet

mud-busted vein
slog wood matters

ornate history society stuff
deadwood doors
done nothin
but chronicle trouble.

mechanics of:
how they got started
now erosion is an overused

how about we try harder
look to beauty in shit like
until that’s no matter too

understanding that

orders of well-nourished
gone breathe
shouldn’t have taken that many fish


mud boats slide thick matter
from one historical spot to another
“paths past-travelled”

& it did nothing

mud down the gullet
litres got a logo

who would want
to re-enact today



this is a domestic space
this old river
there is intimacy here

long and loving laughter
warm entries
you would like to imagine this,
wouldn’t you?

frog shudders a plonk
across alluvial perfection
amphitheatre sounds

on a silent night
we come
refigure ears here

the river is not obscure
and will not become abstract
sad u won’t know until..

it withdraws its care
it turns away
and we.. go

40 nations or basically a UN
in agreement: stop sign
in multiple languages

mother will not forget
river’s recent obscurity
and that one third production
from blind mouths
that fed.

Written by Neika Lehman

Neika Lehman is a writer and artist, living and working in Narrm since 2014. They grew up in nipaluna/Hobart and belong to the Trawlwoolway peoples of north east Tasmania.

Author's note: “Paths past-travelled” is a reference to Natalie Harkin’s 2014 essay ‘The Poetics of (Re)Mapping Archives: Memory in the Blood’.

  • A group of people in a small boat on the river. Their boat faces a larger boat.
  • A boat on the Murray River, with a group of people in the water and inflatable rafts in front of it.
  • Close up of three people paddle boarding on the Murray River.
A group of people in a small boat on the river. Their boat faces a larger boat.

Video taken though an unsecured cctv camera overlooking public space on the Murray River in Echuca Moama. Recorded over the long weekend of 26 January. Underwater recordings of marine vessels supplied courtesy of the Centre for Marine Science and Technology, Curtin University. The dual towns of Echuca Moama sit on the banks of the Murray and Campaspe River, across both Victoria and New South Wales.

The artists acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the area depicted as the Yorta Yorta people.

The artists acknowledge the shared land and proximity of the Baraba Baraba and the Ngurai illam Wurrung, and that the waters of the river this work is made on have nurtured and sustained tens of thousands of generations of people. Sovereignty was never ceded.

ACE tampinthi, ngadlu Kaurna yartangka panpapanpalyarninthi (inparrinthi). Kaurna miyurna yaitya mathanya Wama Tarntanyaku. Parnaku yailtya, parnaku tapa purruna, parnaku yarta ngadlu tampnthi. Yalaka Kaurna miyurna itu yailtya, tapa purruna, yarta kuma puru martinthi, puru warri-apinthi, puru tangka martulayinthi.

ACE respectfully acknowledges the traditional Country of the Kaurna people of the Adelaide Plains and pays respect to Elders past and present. We recognise and respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship with the land. We acknowledge that they are of continuing importance to the Kaurna people living today.