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Art to emerge from the mists of time

06 Mar 2014

Art to emerge from the mists of time Image

A pair of artists hope to reconnect Docklands with its marshlands history through an installation at The Front in Waterfront City this month.

Louise Molesworth and Ben Snaath will investigate Docklands’ pre-colonisation past in order to capture some of its lost landscape and connect the existing community with Docklands’ early environment.

“We aim to achieve more conversations about the area,” she said. ‘I like the idea of there having been a wilderness in this high-density area. We want to uncover the roots beneath the concrete,” Ms Molesworth said.

Unlike a standard installation where an artist delivers a finished artwork at the beginning of an exhibition, Ms Molesworth and Mr Snaath will collaborate on the evolving work, River of Mists and Shadows, throughout March.

The goal is to create a garden of natives that once grew in the area and a projection exploring the history.

“We were thinking about the idea of ghosts in the sense of the spirits of history, even if that’s through oral and written accounts, but just giving them a chance to give their advice again,” Ms Molesworth said.

“That’s where we think a bit of video projection would be useful. It would be a beautiful use of the space at night when you can see the projection from the street.

The pair was struck by a comment made by The Front curator Deb-Bain King when they first visited the space.

“She said it’s so quiet and subdued down here at night that any sort of light that was coming from here would be like a beacon,” Mr Snaath said.

“We thought using projections would insert some ghosts into the space. So if there were lone people walking past they might feel a kind of connection.”

Ms Molesworth agreed, saying she hoped the space would become a welcoming, safe environment for new ideas to take hold.

“It will be a sacred space where we are planting the seed of this idea of the past and everything that’s come before and it’s like the next cycle.”

For curator Ms Bain-King, the installation is about reconnection.

“You talk about cycles all the time and a sense of reconnecting with what was here and drawing a circle around what was, with what is. It’s connecting back to a deeper understanding of landscape and presence in the site,” she said.

The Front is part of Renew Australia’s Docklands Spaces program and it was this idea of renewal, which, in part, inspired Ms Molesworth and Mr Snaath.

Mr Snaath said the idea evolved from the way spaces were given to Ms Bain-King and others through Docklands Spaces, with the aim of revitalising the space.

“There was obviously some sort of concession that what was originally planned hadn’t worked and there was a time when energy was a bit lower,” he said.

“But this has led to a chance for a revitalisation of the area and landscape. I feel like in that failure and destruction there’s a chance for something new to grow out of it.”

“A time for new energy,” Ms Molesworth added.

Ms Molesworth and Mr Snaath plan to conduct a walking tour of Docklands on March 28.

“The tour will be a chance for people that perhaps do not visit Docklands very often, for whatever reason, to engage in a walking discussion about the changes for the area,” Ms Molesworth said.

“A chance for us to reflect upon our time in the space whilst highlighting some key locations the outside Melbourne community may be unaware.”

The tour will leave from The Front at 6pm on March 28.

River of Mists and Shadows will evolve at The Front (424 Docklands Drive) until March 29.

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