An image of a devastated souk in Aleppo, Syria, is grafted onto a Coal Loader tunnel. A dialogue emerges through the restorative act of hand-stitching, quietly suggesting a sense of the global and an empathy for the other in a distant place and context.
Vinyl Mesh, Nylon
approximately 5 x 2.5m
Installation view at the Coal Loader, Waverton, Sydney
Photograph by Daily Telegraph photojournalist Will Wintercross
An Architecture of Thread and Gesture is a series of three spatial works considering the impact of human gesture on architectural space. The work is drawn from an encounter with Kyoto artist Machiko Agano in 2006. As Agano installed a three-dimensional textile work in a gallery space, the fluid movement of her hands was mapped to generate a series of spatial diagrams. The diagrams reflected a complex series of invisible spatial interactions and offered insight into an alternative way of considering architecture. In An Architecture of Thread and Gesture, these diagrams have been revisited and reinterpreted in three dimensions to offer a new kind of ‘construction’.
Threads of monofilament trace the choreography of the human body moving through space in varying intensities, gradually shifting attention from material traces to the passage of light through surface perforations. Gesture, handwork and materiality are pursued to an extreme before finally dissolving in showers of light.
Interference is a series of large-scale textile works exploring the impact of the moving body on air in architectural space. A single hand is isolated in the act of unfurling, its upward and downward arcs traced in two dimensions. Air is considered as liquid, and the wake of the hand is traced in a series of radiating lines marking both time and space. Architecture offers itself as a containing edge, continuously reflecting the displaced air within itself. Over time the bounded space develops an invisible turbulence; a complexity that belies its apparent stillness. This work reflects upon different modes of space-making and is developed from an encounter with textile artist Machiko Agano in Kyoto in 2006. Air is considered as the primary substance of architectural space, and its invisible disturbances and trajectories are made visible as alternative forms of structure. This work is an architecture of body, air and motion; it is an architecture drawn from the barely perceived consequences of our movements within air.
We lost a tree. Its felling was devastating. We sat atop its freshly sawn trunk and grieved, and then we needed to make a restorative space. We studied artichokes. We studied onions. We studied tulips. And then we built this.
Remains of a dead eucalypt, Fijian Cedar, Maple, steel, polypropylene, cable ties. And a mirror ball.
Breathing Buildings is a creative research project investigating aspects of air, medium and dissolution in relation to three buildings by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. The buildings are Z58 in Shanghai, China, completed in 2007; Conservatoire Darius Milhaud in Aix-en-Provence, France, completed in 2014, and the Daiwa Ubiquitous Computing Research Building at the University of Tokyo, Japan, completed in 2014. In making this work, I aimed to create a reflective site for the contemplation of architectural space through the construction of a set of related original visual and sonic narratives. The narratives do not describe Kuma’s spaces and actively avoid engaging with sequential architectural narrative. Instead, the work is an attempt to build an entirely new spatial narrative based on actual experience. It is assembled instinctively from a series of fragments that impressed themselves upon me, the researcher, as I experienced the spaces of these three buildings. The piece is contemplative in nature, with an original score composed by collaborating artist Kuba Dorabialski.
The Liquid Air (Breathing Structure) explores relationships between atmospheric pollution and ocean acidification through a collaboration between artist-architect Ainslie Murray and marine spatial ecologist Renata Ferrari. The work is developed from images of eroded branching corals and infant corals struggling to survive in the acidified ocean. A complex three-dimensional ‘breathing’ structure is threaded through an architectural space to explore parallels between underwater structures (branching corals) and atmospheric structures (built environments).
Utterances considers the role of the body in generating architectural space by actively incorporating the shadows cast by a wandering audience into the work. The currency of physical entities is called into question as shadows of the body appear to move amongst the panels even as the body itself remains distant. The creative tension between the tangible and the intangible becomes evident in the space between the perforated works and their shadows; an ambiguous architectural space emerges akin to the utterance of a word before it is wholly formed.
This work was a floor-based temporal installation that grew from a quiet obsession with the ceiling in the Australia Square foyer. The ceiling was understood as a repetitious pattern of solid and void. The installation questioned the stark solid-void duality and investigated the invisible or barely-perceived physical matter that occupies the void spaces. The voids were reconsidered as positive volumes that have the capacity to cast a ‘shadow’ upon the floor. Fine particulate matter, a tangible physical component of air and a standard indicator of air quality, was captured and arranged on the floor plane in an intricate geometric pattern that placed the floor in direct visual dialogue with the ceiling.
The installation was comprised of two parts separated by external glass wall – one part was inside the foyer, and the other part continued outside. Inside, the voids of the ceiling grid were referenced on the floor using areas of finely crushed glass arranged directly on the floor. The crushed glass is considered as particulate matter, a luminous representation of the invisible suspended matter of the air. Outside, the solids of the ceiling grid were hand cut out of water-soluble embroidery film to form a geometric ‘web’, which was interspersed with areas of black silica. During the evening, performers and the audience sprayed a fine mist of water on the film, slowly dissolving the work until it disappeared completely. In this work, solid and void were inverted, reversed and imaginatively multiplied across the horizontal planes of the building.
Particulate Matter is a site-specific installation investigating Shanghai’s atmosphere. Data reflecting the fine particulate matter in the air is ordered and coloured according to concentration, season, and wind conditions. On still days, the particulate matter renders the air visible and it hangs there—everywhere—as toxic matter to be wrestled, resisted, filtered. On windy days, the air is invisible again, but spaces are torn into the atmosphere by fast moving particulate matter. The structure of the atmosphere is interrupted, its composition compromised and patterns of violent intrusion dominate the skyline.
Footfall considered the tensions between the geometric conceptualisation of a walk as articulated on a map, and the actual experience of it in terms of the physical change in altitude. Each maquette was made of folded and stitched Mylar and related to walks made to Burstall Pass, the Burgess Shale and Sulphur Mountain, near Banff, Canada. The Mylar surface was repetitiously perforated with a map of each walk and placed directly opposite a constructed section of each walk. Corresponding sites on the plan and section were then connected through monofilament stitching to construct a three-dimensional web within the space of the maquette. This manner of relating modes of architectural drawing allowed the crossing of body and space as articulated on a map to take on a non-representational three-dimensional form. In these works the act of stitching recalled the repetitious act of walking, and the monofilament web emerged as a shadow of both the walk and the act of stitching required to construct it.
This is a work of the outskirts – the landscapes of hard, shimmering heat, of hostile scrub, of torn and shredded paper blown about in dust. The fragility of life on the urban fringes is revealed in a range of absences – blank surfaces, dead ends, darkness.
On a nondescript plain a disused, dilapidated billboard is restored with fields of dense gold threadwork. The thread is an acknowledgement, a moment of attention, an offering; the work is a gesture, a thought, an exchange.
This work is made in collaboration with photojournalist Alkis Konstantinidis, whose compelling images of recent social unrest in Athens triggered a dialogue between us as strangers. In working over and through the work of Alkis I witness something of what another has witnessed, however small, and I respond. The photojournalistic process of documentation, distribution and presentation moves beyond the dispassionate registration of images of contemporary events – it re-contextualises a moment in time and humanises the image-maker.
The installation explores the dissolution of architectural space through the manipulation of a single prefabricated architectural structure. The structure is treated as a ready-made object awaiting interaction with the dynamic phenomenon of air. Perforations in the walls suggest an immersion in air as if it were liquid; the structure sinks, settles, and quietly rests in the landscape. This work is a prototype for future site-specific installations, and will be treated as a laboratory for various spatial experiments until 2015.
This work explores the intersection of art, architecture and landscape and is part of a sequence of bespoke spaces that respond to the specific conditions of a garden site. This iteration is made especially for small children.
A jewel-like space of colour and delight is positioned within the garden to function as a hideout, cubby, and retreat. Visitors sit within the space and quietly absorb the kaleidoscopic effects of colour and pattern in relation to the surrounding landscape.
House for a Lost Tree focuses on pattern-making and is influenced by the forms and structures of the natural world. The flexible leaf-like cladding rhythmically overlaps to mix colours and generate rich geometries to produce an immersive, atmospheric and contemplative space in the landscape.
Eden Garden, Sydney; birch plywood, blackbutt, polypropylene, steel; approx. 2m diameter, 2.5m high.
Dissolution and Departure is a spatial meditation on the weight of architecture. A minimal space for the body to navigate is formed with lightweight materials; air and light penetrate the space and begin to dissolve it. A fragmented language of movement and gesture is embodied in the dissolving spatial surfaces, ritualistically writing and rewriting the presence of the body in space. The body inhabits an immersive, liquid space; an architecture is created that might float away in air.
Urban Field is an interactive installation that reflects upon cycles of construction, settlement and reclamation in the built environment. Buildings are repeatedly placed within a grid structure only to be consistently overwhelmed by environment, atmosphere and time.
In this work, an alien grid is imposed upon the landscape, irrespective of context. The grid ignores the topography and the nuanced meshwork of orientations and histories that are hidden from the unthinking eye. The terrain is carved into abstract blocks of varying size and orientation and classified according to condition. Meanwhile, homogenous buildings are assembleden masseaccording to an optimistic set of instructions. The act of assembly is ritualistic and compelling in its sheer scale and intensity. The buildings are then placed within the grid and left to degrade. In time, all that remains is the archaeology of repetitious effort and the awareness of the conflicting complexities of what it is to build, to dwell, and to think.