Art per science

By Meg Hill

For the last few weeks, Yarra’s Edge has been witnessing the culmination of three years’ work by Melbourne artist Tracy Sarroff and the Artery Co-operative with the gifting of a new permanent art instalment.

The piece, placed in the water at Riverside Moat, 100 Lorimer St, is a skilled representation of symbiosis between environment and inhabitants and interconnectivity between art and science.

The instalment comprises 16 buoyant crystalline shards that vary in size and resemble the wallaby grasses that grew in the area before the city’s development.

Complementing this celebration of the past is an equal devotion to Docklands’ futuristic atmosphere, and the influence of technology and ecology.

Each buoy is fitted with interactive LEDs that react to movement – lighting up when pedestrians pass by and changing colour and intensity depending on proximity.

Moving from blues and greens to red and pink hues, the design turns the structures into intelligent life forms capable of recognising others and communicating through bioluminescence.

“Rising six metres at its highest point and approximately 50 metres along the length of the moat, the public artwork is a unique structure of engineering complexity and rigour to meet the demands of a marine environment open to changes in tide, wind and climate,” Tracy said. “We tested these buoys to wind speeds of up to 100kmh.”

The piece is the result of three years’ work from a team of artist-scientists – from engineers to lighting consultants and fabricators.

“I’m very thankful for the great team who have helped see this project through. It’s been a blast!” Tracy said.

Commissioned by Mirvac, Development Victoria and the City of Melbourne, Tracy said the three years threw up a lot of barriers and filters to overcome before this final stage could start. To mitigate any annoyance to residents, the lights work on timers that gradually dim over a series of intervals before turning off in the late evening.

The last of the buoys were placed in the water on June 13, with ongoing work on lighting aspects continuing through the month.

The Minister for Creative Industries and local MP, Martin Foley, will officially launch the work on August 1 at an evening event from 6-8pm.



May 4th, 2022 - Abby Crawford
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