Tamborine Mountain is a small
inhabited plateau in South East Queensland, Australia.
Its wonderful biodiversity is on a par with that of nearby World Heritage
The Tamborine Mountain Archive is an artist’s unique attempt to
create a visual record of biodiversity.
Peter Kuttner spent seven years with a video camera filming the natural
life of the plateau and recording what local people feel about the place
and its wildlife.
South East Queensland is Australia’s fastest-growing region. Kuttner
says the Mountain’s wonderful biodiversity is threatened by development.
He wants to celebrate it, before it’s lost or diminished, and
record it for posterity.
The Archive features thousands of shots of rainforest, fungi, orchids,
scenery, birds, reptiles, insects, marsupials, national parks, panoramic
views, gardens, the weather and more, plus hours of interviews with
39 local people ranging in age from 11 to 80 talking about the rich
natural life of the Mountain and its impact on their lives.
FACTS & FIGURES
- The Archive is in 6 parts on 12 DVDs with a running time
of 18.5 hours.
- It is edited from 54 hours of original footage, including nearly an
hour of aerial shots. The paper edit, from film diary to final script
corrections, runs to approx 1,000 pages.
- Close to 100 digital tapes and more than 100 VHS tapes were used during
- In March 2007 Kuttner bought a Sony HD camera so that he can add to the archive. He estimates he has spent $70,000 on the project, funded from an inheritance.
– In July 2008 The Archive was lodged with the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra.
- This website has twice been captured for the Australian National Web Archive.
Peter Kuttner was born in London in 1941. He was educated at
Bradford Grammar School and studied architecture at Manchester University,
but left the course to attend Hornsey College of Art, graduating with
a BA in 1967. Jonathan Miller was one of his teachers.
Kuttner was part of the avantgarde art scene in swinging 60s London.
He belonged to a group of radical artists who rejected the gallery system
because they felt it was too elitist and turned art into a commodity.
Instead they took their art to the people through multi-media events,
street theatre and performance art.
At Art College, Kuttner was a member of the Light/Sound Workshop
which pioneered light projection for set designs, notably for a
Sir Frederick Ashton ballet at Covent Garden and for rock concerts,
inspiring the then unheralded Pink Floyd, who sometimes provided
the sound for the Workshop’s experiments. He helped organise a
major exhibition and conference honouring the work of famed American
designer Buckminster Fuller, inventor of the geodesic dome.
Kuttner organised and participated in a series of multi-media events
in the Middle Earth Club in Covent Garden. He also organised
street theatre events, culminating in a day of street theatre at a dozen
locations in central London. Notoriously he once spent a day in a zoo
cage exhibited as ‘Homo sapiens’. This received worldwide
publicity. At this time he became friends with the legendary theatre
director Joan Littlewood.
Using a special effects crew from the film industry Kuttner created Pyromagic, staging a number of major firework displays with
a difference, including one accompanying the Grateful Dead at a large pop festival in the north of England.
Edible Rainbow, which involved preparing and presenting meals
of coloured food at art centres, festivals and public galleries in the
UK, Europe the US and Israel, established Kuttner’s reputation.
His events were filmed by UK, US and European television networks and
widely covered in newspaper and magazine articles and in books on contemporary
art in the UK, Europe and Japan – although some items he sent
for an art exhibition in Buenos Aires were impounded by the Argentine
authorities and never returned!
He was a visiting teacher and lecturer at art and architecture schools
in the UK, Europe, USA, Israel, India and for the British Council.
His ‘Food of the Future’ exhibition, about feeding
the world’s population, was a radical project which did not eventuate
and he came to feel he’d reached a dead end with his ventures
in art. He needed to devote himself to being with the renowned spiritual
teacher, Barry Long, whom he had first met in 1968.
In 1987 Kuttner moved to Tamborine Mountain in Australia and eventually
became an environmental activist because the natural beauty of his new
home was under constant threat from development.
Kuttner says his seven-year video archive project on Tamborine Mountain
is his most ambitious, demanding and creatively rewarding artwork.
Kuttner once shared a flat with Roger Waters and Nick Mason of the Pink Floyd and taught Helen Mirren how to play