INTO THE LIGHT is a community process and event developed using art to explore ongoing recovery issues in the region, break down isolation and build connections. It began in 2011 in response to community needs following the 2009 Black Saturday Bush fires. Locals asked that the project be repeated, to continue a collective reflection, realising that community recovery is an ongoing and evolving process that takes time to unfold.
So for the past 4 years we have been engaging in a collective collaborative art project in the Whittlesea Township and surrounding areas, as part of a community recovery process.
Each September, members of bushfire affected communities from across the Kinglake Ranges parade together as a personal, public and collective ritual to welcome spring, reflect on the effect of enforced change in our lives, and look to their future, together.
Guided by a community committee of local people and artists, the theme changes each year to reflect communities’ unfolding issues rather than council boundaries or projected plans.
Working across municipal borders the process has involved workshops delivered in twelve schools throughout the Whittlesea, Nillumbik, Mitchel and Murrindindi shires and community workshops engaging individuals and groups of all ages and abilities.
During the installation of this work I had been determined to place the clay nests on the wall, as I had originally imagined them. But it just didn’t work.(I really did keep trying to make it work!!)
I finally allowed myself to listen to both the work, and my friends, whose advice I had asked for and placed all of the nests on the floor.
In the action of doing this, Paul Blackman and I discussed how lovely it was to hold them.
The clay nests have a warmth about them.
From this we decided to invite the audience to
Pick up a ceramic nest And hold it in your hands
Take a moment to feel its weight Its shape, its purpose
Then place it back in the space
Wherever you like…
I am very excited about this discovery. I love that the viewer is invited to engage with the work. That they can place themselves in it and experience it. I love that the gallery space and the work loses its preciousness; nests may get broken. (One did, but that one fell off the wall in the set up!!) Mostly I love that the work could be experienced sensually and kinaesthetically. It became about having an experience rather than about a concept.
Maybe its my dance and theatre background influencing my work, a desire to break down the fourth wall…maybe its my community arts practice and a desire to connect with people, maybe it was easier to let the audience design the space…it was certainly interesting and delightful to witness the flow of the nests through the space.
A review and images from my installation at Rubicon ARI, Queensbury St, Melbourne August 2016
“Very cool to drop in on Stefanie Robinsons installation at Rubicon ARI today……we walk into a white space, walls , floor and ceiling . Hanging from the roof detritus ropes, sun worn ,ocean swept , sometimes unravelled and frayed . At intermittent points the ropes flair out into beautifully woven nests before being drawn back to follow gravity and continue to the floor where some coil , frayed ends tickle the floor, a minute nest, the essence of intimacy and well being , nestles in the fraying…Where rope meets floor a heaviness of clay nests ground it all and their weight and earthiness are such a wonderful counterpoint to the lightness of the suspended elements of the work. Roughly modelled and fired their earth colour combined with the subtle hues of ropes, hemp and the weaving create this exquisite and reflective environment….I just sat down and dreamed away. you can touch !….Texture ! I moved through and just a gentle bump to set it all in slight motion and the weight of the earth elements holding us firm. Anyway I think it’s really bloody groovy and quite literally hangs together really well…twenty stars ! 309 Queensberry street, We’d to Sat…12 to 5 PM, until 31 St August…oh and it’s a side entrance around the corner.”
Today is the 1st of August… I have 17 days until …
Stories in rope and clay
“Today I bring inside the heavy brown rope and start to pull it apart
It is thick with dirt, dust and oil. It holds a story of work.
It is rugged and strong, like an old farmer who has spent his life in the fields…”
These nests have been woven from rope and formed in clay.
Fragile containers for hope:
an invocation for
shelter, security and safety
This work is my response to her experiences as a community artist, bearing witness to stories of trauma that flow from or lead to the loss of a home, a safe space, a community.
“If only rebuilding a home, a community, a future was as simple as twisting some found rope and reclaimed copper…”
Hope is a fragile thing, so easily lost sight of in the barrage of media and world events. But it is “the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all.” (Emily Dickinson)
Opening Wednesday 17th August 6 – 9pm
Runs 17th August – 3rd September
Hours Wed – Sat 12 – 5pm
Level 1/ 309
VIC 3051 Australia
Please come and join me at the opening on Wednesday 17th August 6 – 9 pm
This work was developed in a Creative Spaces managed studio.
Creative Spaces is a program of Arts Melbourne at the City of Melbourne
I sent a lovely day yesterday in Williamstown as apart of the final Scenes on the Yarra guided performance/installation celebrating the Yarra River, created by Jeminah Reidy.
I installed a collection of nests in trees along Nelson Parade and highlighted them with a sound scape created by Dean Lombard. The soundscape include a song that he had written in response to one of the nests I had made from rope found washed up on the newport breakwater.
The long tails of the nests reached down to the footpath. As I sat and waited for the performance to pass through I got to watch the general public interact with the installation. It was so delightful. People on bikes negotiating the tails, walkers caught by sounds , stopping and looking, curious minds trying to workout where the sound came from….pulling the tails of the nests or waving their hands around thinking they were activated by their presence (unfortunately not just sparse sounds randomly emerging)
Only two people found the need to tell me it was dangerous…everyone else enjoyed it, so many smiles,so much curiosity. It really was such a joy to experience others experiencing it.
Its hard to capture the the experience with the camera ….