This participatory outdoor installation reflects on my personal first-time experiences in Australia and my explorations of Australian flora, fauna, aboriginal culture and life-philosophies, as well as the history of European discovery and penetration of the land. I created 105 origami-folded star-shaped vessels that I floated on a man-made water storage pond during a public art event. Each vessel contained pieces of bark that depicted abstract designs on one side – created by insects and withering. On the inside I wrote short sentences or single words that expressed my fascination and learning of Australia’s nature, history and culture. Visitors were invited to bring the vessels ashore using long sticks. The bark pieces were laid out inside an exhibition space, and participants grouped them into thematic categories.
The photos in Part 2 of the project show the floating of the vessels on the pond, and their retrieving during the public event, as well as the reassembling of vessels and inscribed bark in the gallery space. Participants arranged the inscribed bark pieces according to contexts and topics.
This piece reflects on my first-time visit to the Australian continent and first-time exploration of Australian specific flora and fauna, landscape and star constellations as well as study of dynamic aboriginal life philosophies and their encounter with linear logic-based European conceptions.
It was my goal with this project to use materials that nature could provide and to create an intervention in the environment – including an interactive component – yet it was important to me that my piece would not leave any traces in the environment. Using origami technique I folded 105 vessels with a star-shaped top. The pieces were folded in 3 different sizes, using semi-transparent tracing paper that I treated with shades of brown ink extracted from the barks of various local coniferous trees. The bottom of each vessel was sealed with beeswax from a local beekeeper. Each vessel held several pieces of bark within it.
At the time of my visit (Australian summer) several species of trees shed their bark and I collected smaller and larger pieces – especially those that showed markings of insect activity on their outer skin – often resembling abstract drawing. I handwrote short pieces of text in the inside with dark brown ink. The texts were single words and very short sentences that expressed my first-hand experiences and explorations in this “new world”.
During a public event the vessels were floated on a small man-made body of water – resulting from local rainwater collection, as is common in rural Australia where utility lines do not reach. Visitors were encouraged to bring the vessels in with the help of long sticks. The bark pieces were taken to an indoor exhibition space and laid out in a designated area. In a collective effort participants grouped the text pieces according to their various topics. Participants took bark pieces home. Remaining pieces were deposited back into nature to decay along with other tree bark.