As part of this year’s Underbelly festival I worked with Alasdair Nicoll and Michelle McCosker who form the collective Reefknot. The project that Reefknot came up with was called ‘Filling in the Cracks’ which invited artists to create works that could quite literally fill in cracks that are found in the urban landscape. The Underbelly festival was centred in and around Kensington Street, Chippendale, home to the Fraser Studios and Gallery 44 No More. The site is owned by Fraser Constructions who are redoing the old Carlton Brewery site and thus turned the area over to artists as the base for this year’s Underbelly.
My ‘crack’ was a rather beautiful drainpipe that was rusted and peeling, holes of various sizes up and down. The rust itself had some beautiful colours and on the pipe’s support wall there are small patches of bright green moss which were also aesthetically beautiful. The project encouraged the use of found materials and so with some fabric that was kindly donated by my mother, I cut strips of silk which I then plaited, knotted and sewed into rosettes of differing sizes. At the back of each one I attached some fishing line and a sinker which was then dropped down into the drain, its weight holding the flower in place. (Thanks Al for the idea with the sinkers!)
Projects like this are important and valuable. They provide a new way to use space that would otherwise be deemed unusable and beyond repair. They engage the public and invite comment, stimulate new ways of seeing and provide artists with opportunities to work in new ways and to communicate directly with the public. For the people living in this area it also stimulates a rejuvenation of their living environment and allows them to look at their home in a fresh way. Hip hip hooray for public art!