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IlluminARTe’s Seaweed Projection-Human and Environmental Blog

On Saturday, April 29th, Picton Village ushered in the annual IlluminARTe Wollondilly Music FestivalThe festival has a family atmosphere, featuring market stalls, street musicians, lantern parades, fireworks and architectural projections. Many artists were invited to make projections on the building, including our 2016 resident artist Julie Ryder. Julie chose to use images from our seaweed album and related collections to showcase her artwork.

Julie’s projection appeared on the old post office and the old commercial bank company building, which are located on the corner of Menangle and Argyle Streets, facing each other. The post office was completed in 1892 and is now home to the Woodundilly Visitor Information Center. The bank was established in 1885 and is now the seat of the National Australia Bank.

The projection of the old post office includes elements on the cover of the museum Port Phillip Seaweed Album There is also an animated display showing selected seaweed specimens from the album. It’s amazing to see these beautiful forms come to life on the building and listen to the crowd’s reaction when watching the images of floating seaweed.

Projected to the old post office.Photo: Catriona Donnelly, National Museum of Australia

Across the street, the projection of the old commercial bank corporate building features a background underwater lens, covered with images of WH Harvey’s seaweed Phycologia Australica: Or, the history of Australian seaweed.

Harvey visited Australia in 1854 and spent 18 months collecting seaweed along the southern Australian coastline. His five-volume publication describing Australian seaweed was published in 1862. These books feature color plates that illustrate various types of algae. Harvey’s publications became a standard reference point for local botanists and educators.

Forecast for the old commercial bank company building.Photo: Catriona Donnelly, National Museum of Australia

Artists are also invited to submit artwork for inclusion in a pop-up art exhibition held on the same day as the festival. The picture below shows Julie standing in front of her artwork named “Lady Collecting I” and “Lady Collecting II”. Both works feature real seaweed specimens, combining watercolors and intricate patterns pierced into paper. You can see the seaweed pattern and three dimensions in the detailed image.

Seaweed collection was a popular leisure activity in the 19th century, especially for upper-class and middle-class ladies. Julie’s artwork collided this unusual hobby with other more traditional female pursuits of the time (such as embroidery and clothing making).

“Collection of Ladies I and II” by Julie Ryder.Photo: Catriona Donnelly, National Museum of Australia

Featured image: Seaweed projected onto Picton’s Old Commercial Bank Corporate Building
Photo: Catriona Donnelly, National Museum of Australia

The project was assisted by the Australian government
The Australian Arts Council, its arts funding and consulting agency.

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