Swamp Town (or, The Levee Paradox)
Developmental work created during residency at the University of Tasmania School of Art, Launceston Tasmania.
Mix media diorama and digital photography.
This project investigates the specific vulnerabilities of the Launceston area to extreme weather events and the tension of maintaining human structures in a landscape that naturally wishes to reclaim them. The process combines this process of the children’s learning through play, utilising minimal/simplified landscape signifiers, photographs and fanciful set structures, with a critical breakdown in meaning.
These vague yet locally specific scenes of the aftermath of a fictional calamity seek to foster a sense of unease in the landscape and comment on the paradoxes inherent to human development incongruous with a natural environment straining under our influence.
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During my residency at the Tasmanian College of the Arts, Launceston, I researched imagery/writing related to historical flood events as well as contemporary public disaster education materials and flood mitigating infrastructure such as the levee systems and the light-pole flood markers in Inveresk.
I was particularly interested in a series of workshops conducted at primary schools in Launceston in 2007 to teach children about the realities of flooding through drawing, excursions, and diorama building. The council initiated this program in acknowledgement that living memory of the worst flooding disasters slips away through the generations, inevitably fostering complacency and increases risk in the event of disaster.