The Remnant (2010-11)
‘The Remnant’ is a dual screen, 3D holographic interactive, installation with 'holographic' projections & Image and spatial sound. It was produced in two subsequent versions during 2010 and 2011.
2: 2011 (v2) Cairns Centre for Contemporary Arts, KickArts Gallery, Cairns, 3 June-6 Aug 2011. Read critical review, 'Ways of Seeing Nature's Fragility' Nov. 2011, (Paper Version) (Online Version)
1: 2010 (v1) Treeline Environmental Festival, Mary Cairncross Rainforest Scenic Reserve, Information Centre,148 Mountain View Road, Maleny, Australia, 28th May - 16th June 2010, Curated by Treeline Festival. GoogleLocation
TEAM: Keith Armstrong (Artistic director), James Muller/Earthbase Productions (Co-director) and Leah Barclay (sound)
PARTNERS: THE REMNANT (v1) - Treeline Festival, Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve , Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, QUT Creative Industries, Earthbase Productions, Indigenous Consultant Bev Hand, Ray Seddon, Julie Dean and Darren Pack of E2E Visuals. THE REMNANT (v2) - KickArts Gallery.
MORE: A remnant is something that remains when the majority of that something has been lost. This art-science project focuses upon the idea of remnant landscapes - isolated blocks of forest (or other vegetation types) typically set within a patchwork quilt of surrounding farmed lands - the kind of fragmentation of country and habitat that one might see anywhere in Australia. It draws upon the dramatic power of holographic 3D illusion, satellite imagery, surround sound and intuitive body driven interactivity. Participants peer into a mysterious, long tunnel of imagery whilst navigating entirely through their gentle head movements - allowing them to both 'steer' in three dimensions and also 'alight', as a butterfly might, upon a sector of landscape - which in turn reveals an underlying 'landscape of mind'. The work challenges audiences to re-imagine our conceptions of country in ways that will lead us to better reconnect and sustain today’s heavily divided landscapes.
THE REMNANT (v.1) was commissioned by the 2010 TreeLine ecoArt event - an initiative of the Sunshine Coast Council, which focuses upon trees and their stories as a means to inspire others to take action for the environment. THE REMNANT (v.2) was commissioned by Kickarts Gallery, Cairns. Version 1 was presented at a stunning remnant block of subtropical rainforest called ‘Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve’ - located 100kms north of Brisbane near the township of Maleny. Once a small part of a thriving subtropical rainforest region called the Maleny Plateau, Mary Cairncross Reserve is now the only significant rainforest block left in that vicinity. Cairncross is an archetypal ‘remnant’.
THE REMNANT (v.1) drew upon a range of local but universal themes: The tragedy of an ecological ark contrasts with the vision of the site’s bequestors and a local community of support. An argument continues between preservation and pasture; between crops and housing. The voice of local indigenous custodians contrast with the fences and boundaries conception of private property based democracy. And in between these clashes sits the story of a critically endangered butterfly, hanging on through dint of community will and one key host plant found in the reserve. Butterflies and their rainforest hosts are flagship examples of that which we are losing - threatened species who have suffered so much because of us now depend upon us to ‘allow’ them survive.
THE REMNANT (V2) took this universal story to Cairns and re-presents the work in a new open format which allowed audiences to both experience the original power of the work and to also understand the construction of the work's powerful illusory, visual spaces.
THE REMNANT therefore speaks for a fundamental rethinking of the critical relationships that frame our worlds - the social, the political, the economic and the cultural, asserting that the ecological crisis is not out there .. but that WE are the crisis and therefore it is we who must now understand how to act.
FURTHER BACKGROUND (V1): The Pararistolochia Praevenosa is the sole host plant for the critically endangered Richmond Birdwing Butterfly. The Birdwing must locate this rainforest vine in exactly the correct state of growth at breeding time in order to then lay it eggs and this foster the birth and growth of new caterpillars. Over millions of years this species has become dependent upon this one key vine - and so the relatively recent, catastrophic loss of this vine from its original reach from Maryborough Qld down to Grafton NSW has virtually sealed the fate of yet another iconic Australian species. The current tiny population of Richmond Birdwing is a classic ‘remainder’ species that hovers perilously close to extinction.
In some small way though The Birdwing, like a handful of other charismatic creatures, is lucky –its iconic beauty has inspired several communities across SEQ and NSW to rally to specifically support it – planting and nurturing the host vine in their surrounding lands. Through this new collaboration / regeneration partnership between human and threatened species – the butterfly may yet enjoy some kind of uneasy future. However exciting this may be, this is but one rare case - as numerous other (often less charismatic) species are rapidly declining. Our landscape is now dotted with the evidence of this - remnant vegetation within which known species such as the Birdwing alongside mysterious, unseen or maybe unknown others grimly hang on to life.
Critical Review 'Ways of Seeing Nature's Fragility' (Paper Version) (Online Version) in Realtime issue #105 Oct-Nov 2011 pg. 28.
Download Catalogue (v2)
Exhibition Link, Kickarts, Cairns (v2)
Download invite (v2)
Download floorplan (v2)
Project Webpage , Treeline Festival, (v1)
Short Press Release (v1)
Long Press Release (v1)