Marnie Badham & Tammy Wong Hulbert (artists)
Force of Nature Live Art Exhibition, Gretel Taylor (curator)
Yarra Ranges Regional Museum, Victoria, Australia
September 8 to October 14, 2018
I was invited by Dr Marnie Badham, a colleague at RMIT, to collaborate with her on a project at the Yarra Ranges Regional Museum in 2018. Dr Gretel Taylor, a performing artist and researcher, was curating an exhibition called Force of Nature, a transdisciplinary exhibition of contemporary art. The exhibition was to take place in the downstairs gallery of the Yarra Ranges Museum. It was interesting to gain an insight into the role of a local museum and understand how a range of exhibitions, ranging from social history through to contemporary art, function in the Lilydale community. There is quite a strong cultural history in the Lilydale and the Yarra Ranges area, connected to significant Indigenous figures, such as William Barak, through to Dame Nellie Melba.
For this project, Marnie and I focused on mapping the relationship between the natural environment, the impact of climate change on the emotions of local people in Lilydale. For this project, we spent quite a few months preparing by trying to understand who was in the community and how we could access them through public social spaces. We consulted the gallery staff, the local library and local government to gain a deeper understanding of this context. In the end, we decided to create a large map suitable for the scale of the gallery, which could be stamped with a selected range of emotions such as 'fear, anger, serene and sad'. We were inspired by new genre public artist Suzanne Lacey's Three Weeks in May, where she mapped the reporting of rapes in LA, California. We used this iconic work as a point of reference in our methodology. The resulting project was a five week 'artists in residence' mapping of the emotions of Lilydale, with the act of stamping a part of the work.