Chas BlundellEmily Milledge
I Go Further Under is inspired by the true story of Jane Cooper who, in 1971, at 17 years of age, arrived in Hobart from Melbourne and asked local fishermen to take her to a remote island where she intended to live in solitude, hoping to remain there permanently despite having limited means and no plan of how she would survive the long winter months. Jane convinced the fishermen to take her to DeWitt Island (also known as the 'Big Witch'), an uninhabited island off the southern coast of Tasmania. She lived in almost total isolation for 12 months despite her act of withdrawal triggering controversy both politically and within the media. As well as pressure from the state, which included raids by police, she became a media spectacle and was stalked by journalists. She also amassed a collection of letters, delivered to her by fishermen, from anonymous people around the world who obsessed over the idea of her romantic withdrawal from society. I Go Further Under incorporates aspects of Jane Cooper's story to delve into an ambivalent space of escape, unpacking the associated experiences of detachment, isolation, surveillance, insanity and severance. It follows the hesitations, reluctance and fragility of leaving here and going elsewhere, away from North, deep into the idea of South.