Wednesday, March 2, 2011


“We were here”
A Panorama

Click here for digital video

The objective of the final exercise was to take my site and through a means (in this case digital photo manipulation), changing one object or concept within the site, from its original state, to “something else". I wanted to present 'virtual' installation of changing the balance between man and nature to create an altered state of nature vs. man.

The elements of nature and man made surroundings – the Kangaroo Point bridge, the walk ways, the buildings and apartments were removed initially and replaced with natural elements, such as foliage, cliffs and blue skies.

The method for this involved digital manipulation of images I had gathered over the five weeks of visiting my site. I wanted to represent the Kangaroo Point as photographed from the mangroves, and as 'found', not 'photographed'. I researched and gathered photographs of this location from 1858 – the first photographic recordings of the river. There are diarised accounts of what the Point looked like prior to this... I found this interesting on many levels, 1. 'recorded history' being so new 2. The camera only in use from 1850s 3. the photographs from 1860s onwards show all signs of urbanization, with very little of this diarised landscape visible. 4. how time lapse was recorded – through camera recordings, screen shots, digital photography, saved data, projected imagery. For this reason, I have toned the final image down, and ghosted out the 'man' element, but not completely removed... my experiences of the river are limited to photographic representations and written accounts of man's intervention with the river.

I thought very carefully about experimenting with the site in this way: I investigated physical vs. non-physical materiality, and came to the conclusion that where I had used projection in a previous exercise, would yield similar conceptual results. I experimented with software for the 'digital collage' and recording software.

Intention - the outcome is not meant to bye professional, however I did want the viewer to feel a postcard beauty – the panoramic nostalgic imagery you experience when someone sends you a note reminding the receiver, “I was here”... I was inspired by digital representations of history found in Museums as well as idyllic representations of these 'paradises' in postcards.

Museum and Reference Sites:


Recording King Tide for 17 minutes at midday

Capturing - reflections, the changing nature of the river's edge, the change in man made structures over time - ultimately the tide takes over the location. The glass slides under the pressure of the water and the glass slides into the river.


“Changing the River”

Intervention - recording time and space

Looking at change within my site, by adding elements; glass and architects board used in previous example.

Changes over King Tide – photographic diary of a day with glass, thread, board and pins

With the intention of change in mind, I visited my site and carried out 2 installations. Both capture time and space, and represent the changes experienced by river through man's intervention, and nature's continuations.

With Glass, Thread, the architects board, used in the Dimensional Map exercise, I took my aerial map to the site constructed the same formation in hard mud.... my intention was to explore the parable of houses built on sand vs. Houses built on solid ground. I changed the installations to suit my needs, as in the first installation took place in the hardened mad of the mangroves and the second installation took place at the river's edge of the same location.

Aerial Map - History as Dimension

Resolved Piece
"the Scenery was particularly beautiful; the country on the banks alternately hilly and level but not flooded; the Soil of the finest description of Brush wood land on which grew Timber of great magnitude; of various Species, some of which were unknown to us, amongst others, a magnificent Species of pine was in great abundance."
(Royal Historical Society of Queensland)

Aerial Map - History as Dimension

I wanted to represent history around 1860 in an aerial view, when Brisbane River had been recently 'settled'. I have gathered etched/photo reference on the area from 1829 – 1900. It's incredible how, by 1860 – from arriving in Brisbane port (in 1829) - the landscape had changed dramatically ... housing, city, removal of mangroves, river dredging for port and shipping activity: it was all well underway.

I am always interested in that idea of history and the point when everything 'became something else' – the point of no return I guess. I believe 1860 was the year, the river became something 'else'.

Because of the time in history, I wanted to return to a more traditional method of 'stitching' the landscape as an aerial view.

I wanted to try as many methods as possible for the final submission and hoped to capture 'pasts and present' of the river- especially as I've found the memories/experiences and perspectives change each time I visit, or plan the next exercise. Also, every time I read more about the site, my understanding changes. This exercise was a good opportunity to work with stitching. An initial 'stitched canvas' was made at the River, specifically at the Kangaroo Point mangroves, where I recorded textures and colours.

Brisbane River recorded between 1865 – 1875

Later, materials taken from the site (such as wood, line work, painted canvas and stitch work) was used to create the final piece. Nothing was wasted.
There is a mix of linear drawing, stitching, photographs, painted canvas, felt and cotton fabrics, chicken wire, copper wire and materials taken from the site to reference certain parts of the river.

Site2_Dimensional Maps_contd.

Experiences as Projections

Projected photographs over original Brisbane River Map @4.25 m. Photgraphs taken the weekend after the Brisbane River flooded in January 2011.

Influences - Mark Datodi and Diana Thater

Experiences as Images:
From Vulture Street to Shaftston Avenue
From Vulture Street to Shaftston Avenue II
Brisbane Metro Map Projection
Brisbane Floods – Experiences
Brisbane Floods – Unity


Site 2_Dimensional Maps_contd.

The objective here was to present an experience of the river as it is today - whether it's my experience or the river's experience. The mangroves at Kangaroo Point is roughly a 200m stretch and is fairly accessible, so this is where I my initial recordings. Again, the elements suggest a 'push/pull' relationship between man and nature... one that ultimately nature has to win in order to keep the balance. There is an unrelenting force between tide and the growth of of the mangroves - no matter how much development goes on around them, they keep constant and replenishing.

Interesting to note here, that the mangroves along the Brisbane River were stripped almost entirely, except for selected areas along West End to South Bank, QUT gardens and the Kangaroo Point by 1997. Subsequently, a regulation was passed stopping the removal of mangroves along this stretch. Not surprisingly, between 2007 and 2010 the whole of the South Bank mangrove area was stripped, to "ensure visitors "can enjoy new quality green space". (

Click on link to view moving image