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The starting point

Posted by Craig Walsh

Great to finally be in Busselton after all the planning consultation and coordination. Ten days into our residency and we have had the launch of the project and settled into the spaces we will occupy – where we will meet and make artwork with the local community here at ArtGeo. It was excellent to see so many turn out for the launch on what was a cold and wet evening. We thank everyone for making us feel so welcome.

Initial testing with the suitcase assemblage and projected portraits for FIVE Busselton, artist Craig Walsh in collaboration with the local community (Photo Craig Walsh)Initial testing with the suitcase assemblage and projected portraits for FIVE Busselton, artist Craig Walsh in collaboration with the local community (Photo Craig Walsh)

As part of the launch, I exhibited a projection work titled ‘HOME’ on the historical stonewall of the courthouse. This acted as an introduction to an outcome from a community-based digital project as well as, importantly, how the community interviews I will be undertaking during the residency might manifest into a public installation. The 'HOME' project was part of a major regional touring project across 11 locations with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney during 2010 and 2011. More details of that project can be found at http://www.digitalodyssey.com.au/.

The 'HOME' project enabled contribution in many forms and accommodated all types of personnel expression in response to the question: what does 'home' mean to you? This formed the basis of the project. Hiromi conducted workshops and invited the public to contribute personnel belongings, stories, photographs, artworks etc.  and stitched this content to form a large collaged screen. Meanwhile, I video-interviewed individuals who contributed there perspectives on 'home'. The edited videos were projected over the collaged screen to form a living portrait of the place where the work was created, being specific and insightful. The final artwork acts as a reflection of the community and the complex issues and circumstances that define our sense of home. Individual contributions merge into a collective voice to form an artwork that stimulates the conversation in the broader public and beyond.

Our thinking for FIVE Busselton builds on this format, providing creative space for the Busselton community’s thoughts and ideas to define the content of the work, whilst creating a formal  structure in which this content can be viewed and experienced as art. We hope to blend projection and the community sculpture Hiromi is working on as one component of the project.

After discussion and consideration, we thought the starting point and inspiration for our new work together is the word 'BELONGING' and what that means to us all. The workshops and interviews will evolve out of this discussion. Hiromi is using suitcases as the starting point for the sculpture and the community is invited to occupy the suitcase space with their ideas and objects. The image (above) is of my initial testing with suitcases and projected images.

For me, it is important to listen and converse with the local community whilst also searching and discovering public spaces and how these spaces are used. The influence of environment on the human condition is a constant strain of inquiry in my practice and the intention is to link the community portraiture with public space as part of the project and to explore environmental influences. Within the conversation around 'belonging', we will explore the influence of the natural environment, built environment and how personal relationships and circumstances influence our sense of 'belonging'. 

I am inspired by my experience thus far and the people I have met and excited by what we may all learn from this project and how we might contribute to a greater awareness and understanding of mental health issues. 

Please feel free to call in to ArtGeo for a chat and contribute to the community portraits and help build the collective sculpture as part of Hiromi’s workshops. I will be filming digital portraits during our workshop hours from 11am to 4pm from Thursday to Monday.

 

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