Project undertaken in collaboration with Benedict Anderson and Adam Goodrum
The project, 'It's time', begins as a provocation to the spatial politics of memory taking its appearance from demise. The demise takes the form of a square that no longer exists with any formal boundary in the maps of Sydney but yet forms the political folklore of a politician about to disappear. Dismissed Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam's 1975 reelection rally on the corner of Oxford and College Streets in Hyde Park, Sydney, created a political stance that later became known, signed, and later forgotten, as Whitlam Square.
The project focuses on the unprecedented shift in the Australian law and legal reforms from 1972-75 under Gough Whitlam’s Labor Government, the then Attorney-General Lionel Murphy and constitutional writer Charles Comans. Concerned with the politics and aesthetics of reflection, representation and identity, the project takes the form of two public sculptures. The first sculpture located at the Hyde Park site; the second situated within the parliamentary triangle of Canberra and located adjacent to the High Court of Australia. Both sculptures are conceived to uncover and commemorate the relationships between law, place and civil society.
The project envisages a multi-valiant representation of the laws: each law informing the other, each an interaction with the public and governance of society. Defining a sculptural language about the laws to foreground the many civil advances that took place in contemporary Australian society from 1972-1975. The laws such as the Family Law Act or the Racial Discrimination Act came to redefine Australia’s political and cultural maturity of the time and as such define the project’s visuality and context.
The visual form of both public sculptures has been influenced by the now deceased mechanical writing device, the typewriter. Conceived in polished stainless steel, the organising form for the Canberra sculpture has been influenced by the apparatus' that write the laws in the metal letters of the typewriter arms that strike the paper. The Hyde Park sculpture presents three folds of bronze each with the fineness of paper and all marked by the palimpsest of the typewriters hammer. Through the indentation, relief, puncture and overlaying, a new communication is introduced with the laws; each a writing within the other.
The laws that govern are the laws that reflect the public and vice versa, creating participatory acts between the public and sculpture. Through this dynamic exchange, the two sculptures conceived for Sydney's Hyde Park and Canberra's Commonwealth Place continue this historical and fundamental shift in Australian law through a visual dialogue of forming and reforming their spectatorship and civic identity.
This project was funded by CCDP. It was exhibited in the Carlton Project Space, Chippendale.
The project was a collaboration with Benedict Anderson and Adam Goodrum.