Now you See Us
This work is designed to be a public art installation based on the 84 species of threatened birds in the
City of Greater Geelong. It is intended to highlight the scale of risk happening at the local level, all over Australia,
as we enter the global era of the Anthropocene, the age of man’s overwhelming influence on the planet.
Importantly, the focus of the work is also positive and a call to action. It will highlight the sort of activities that the
City of Greater Geelong is doing in conservation of habitats, for example, revegetation of the Barwon River with native species. The aim is getting the attention and support of the public for this vital issue and
conservation research and work.
Australian Painted Snipe
Australian Little Bittern
The listings of threatened species in the
City of Greater Geelong alone are:
84 species of threatened birds
9 species of threatened mammals
5 species of threatened fish
3 species of threatened reptiles
2 species of threatened amphibians
4 species of threatened invertebrates
This list has been compiled by the State-Wide Integrated Flora and Fauna Team or SWIFFT. This organisation is a network and an initiative supported by Federation University Australia, the Ballarat Environment Network and the Victorian Department of Environment Land Water and Planning.
SWIFFT is about maintaining, developing and sharing knowledge and skills within Victorian communities for the protection and management of threatened species and biodiversity conservation.
It aims to highlight the scale of this threat by focusing on just the birds, in the first instance, creating a large murmuration of sculptural birds based on the 84 species affected. This is being made by a collective of selected local artists and will be displayed in a public place. There will also be digital works created in parallel which will form the focus of an online awareness campaign.
In this installation, I was inspired by the extraordinary mass movements of birds, especially starlings and budgerigars which are known as a murmuration. These poetic and dramatic displays are still a mystery to science and are the subject on ongoing research. They represent the mystery of nature, and elicit wonder in us and are a powerful entry point to examining our relationship with the natural world.
In creating a murmuration artwork as part of Arts Week 2016 for Geelong College, I also wanted to initiate a cross disciplinary dialogue between the arts and sciences in the school. My concept for the work included embedding digital and science elements, motifs and activities into the creation of the Murmuration installation.