PHOTO-SYNTHESIS PROJECT bulletin #15

EXHIBITIONS + PERFORMANCES

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EXHIBITION

triLamina (aranzeria) Palm House 5-28 January 2008

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A site-specific installation, in the historic Palm House. Taking its name from 3 layers in a membrane, triLamina draws the visitor in, with sounds and smells adding to the sensory experience. The exhibition space itself is in the earliest glass house in the country; an artificial hothouse environment that blurs the boundaries between indoors and outside (the word, aranzeria, derives from the Polish for ‘orangerie’).

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photo~synthesis

The first section of the exhibition displays assemblages, created throughout the year concurrently with the outdoor pieces, maintaining a sense of continuity. These works are a reflection of the constantly changing life of the contemporary Gardens.

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sub rosa (nests)

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vessels (floating)

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vessel (wayfaring)

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Interior

The second room takes us into the past.

18th Century Europeans were uneasy with the Australian bush, which was perceived as threatening and therefore to be tamed or shut out. Safety was to be found in an enclosed domestic space, where comfort was sought in the familiar.

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It fell upon colonial women to create that security in a harsh new environment, while conforming to the rigid constraints of 18th century society. Rose features as one of the main materials used in this work.

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Corsetry and petticoats, cups of tea with light conversation, tools to shape the land: these were the trappings of ‘civilization’.

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the conversation; art imitates life imitates art imitates life.

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another conversation; some light tea.

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The cupboard is filled with vessels ( domestic) and topped with preserves.

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Preserves feature Australian native flowers & Mopoke feathers in 19th century hand-blown glass. They are joined by a jar of cockatoo feathers and rose thorns from the Litany performance.

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An impenetrable wall of foliage, with small door and window, divides interior from the landscape.

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Landscape with Fallen Warrior

In the furthest part of the exhibition is a homage to the Cadigal people, the original inhabitants of this part of Sydney’s foreshore, and the traditional custodians of the land.

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Built from a year’s accumulation of aromatic eucalypt branches and foliage, and with soft leaf litter underfoot, this is no longer a room, but an extension of the landscape.

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Within the trees, a hovering canoe, numi, is caught in mid flight:
floating over land where once it glided through water.

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Curled on the ground is the muscular torso of a man, coated in ash.
fallen warrior (son) is reincarnated from Discobolis, an early 20th century neo-classical Italian marble statue, originally displayed in the Gardens.

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While the bush was a place of familiar intimacy to the indigenous Cadigal, the colonials were intimidated and overwhelmed. From the moment of first contact, radically different perceptions of the world would continue to hamper understanding between Indigenous people and Europeans, far more than linguistic differences. Ultimately everyone was displaced: the Aboriginals from their land; hunting and ceremony grounds, and the convicts and settlers, far from home, in a landscape perceived as totally alien. We are still coming to terms with the consequences.

Accompanying sound installation is by Robert Curgenven; created from field recordings made in the Royal Botanic Gardens.

www. recordedfields.net http://www.myspace.com/recordedfieldslabel

5 ~ 28 January 2008 10am ~ 4pm daily.

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PERFORMANCE

The exhibition is complemented by two free performances, which take place in the grounds of the Gardens, integrating fully with the landscape.

Lament

Wednesday 9 January, 4.30 ~ 6.30pm, in front of Palm House.

A durational performance in the form of a meditative tableau.

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The white clad artist sits for 2 hrs, blindfolded beneath a sprawling tree, meticulously picking thorns off rose canes into a glass jar.

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It is an elegy for all the tears that have been shed along this shore.

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The jar of thorns/tears is carried inside to be placed with other preserves on a cupboard in the interior.

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songline (high tide

Wednesday 16 January, 6.00 ~ 7.30pm, Crossing Lower Gardens.

A slow dance that traverses the Gardens in a kilometre wide arc from east to west.

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As her white ochred figure moves across the landscape it traces the original shoreline of Woccanmagully (Farm Cove), now buried under the Lower Gardens.

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Sea eroded rocks marked the high water line.

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The sentinal of a 300 year old remnant forest red gum keeps watch.

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200 metres of rope slowly starts to unravel from the artist’s body, leaving a moving trail.

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The audience follows the unravelling story into the upper reaches of the gardens, across what was once a beach called Cookooroo.

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The snaking rope dances, sings and writes words that speak of place.
.

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At the end of the journey white ochre is rubbed off
to rise into the air like a puff of smoke.

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songline began it’s journey in the mountains of Java in March 07, passed along the Todd Riverbed of Alice Springs (walking on water) in September 07 and continued on the shores of Sydney Harbour with (high tide).

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EXHIBITION

photo~synthesis (aranzeria) Red Box Gallery 11 February–26 March 2008

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This exhibition, in a reconfiguration of the Palm House installation, continues the dialogue of the historical relationship between nature and humanity, as witnessed by the Royal Botanic Gardens site.

In moving to the Herbarium the exhibition is also recontextualized, with Red Box Gallery located in the midst of a working scientific environment.

The installation utilizes early 20th century display cabinets, with multiple assemblages creating a repetitive rhythm in the manner of scientific specimens.

From the mezzanine of the Herbarium staff can look down into the Red Box Gallery.

Cockatoo screech, fruit bat chatter, waves lapping, city hum; Rob Curgenven’s field recordings waft though the space into offices and laboratories.

photo-synthesis(aranzeria) brings the sounds, sights and smells of the contemporary living Gardens, along with its historical references, into the heart of the institution.

One Response to “PHOTO-SYNTHESIS PROJECT bulletin #15”

  1. Stepping Stones project by Aña Wojak « It's Crow Time Says:

    […] about it here Aña was Artist in Residence at the Sydney Botanic Gardens in 2007. I attended her Songline (hightide performance at the conclusion of her work there and was blown away, she gave a much deeper […]

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