As identified by the Australian Soil Resource Information System, there are over 10 different soil use typologies located within 1.5kms of the Culpra Station camp-site - a testament to the site situated on the banks of Australia’s largest river and surrounded by shifting desert sands, agricultural production, degrees of human inhabitation and natural flora and fauna. Culpra Station is a temporal site positioned on a fluctuating line in the landscape.
Earth is sedimentation of biological componentry. Within the hidden complexities of soil lie a diverse palimpsest of networked forces; history, society and narrative as well as contemporary Australia’s superimposed economy and infrastructure. When the word ‘extract’ is used in reference to an object or space, it means to forcefully remove something. When the same word is applied to text, data, or narrative, it alludes to the careful selection of a part to both represent the original and to become a work in its own right.
The Extract project employed an auger mechanism, a tool associated with soil testing, primary production and mining, as a means to map geological sections of the Culpra Station landscape - a narrative formed over millennia that acts as an extract of the larger social and cultural narrative of land. As a process, a set of extraction points were identified across the landscape in an autonomous grid situated across the most diverse soil use zones within the site. At every 250m the auger was used to extract soil columns that were later recomposed in acrylic vessels to provide a scalar map of earth and land. The initial proposal had a deliberate naivety that examined the landscape on precise objective data. The reality of the landscape (revealed through experience and through discussions with Barry Pearce on site) saw the autonomous grid adjusted with intuition and subjective appraisal.
Photos of sculpture taken by Paul Pavlou
This project was undertaken as part of Interpretive Wonderings and was produced in collaboration with the Culpra Milli Aboriginal Corporation