Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Map of a Dream of the Future

Lead artist: Nicholas Low
Tram Shed Function Centre, 4 Invermay Rd, Inveresk

By Anneliese Milk

Slipping behind a black curtain into the cold, dark shed, I try to adjust my eyes while simultaneously lurching forward across a narrow path of stepping stones. Strategically laid out in a cross-axis, the stones are surrounded by glistening water – an ankle-deep black pond. As I shuffle and sway my way through, I pray not to be the girl who lost her footing and ended up in the water.

The challenge of staying dry is augmented by the fact that one must negotiate one's way through one hundred suspended pot plants. Like leafy green marionettes, some thirty varieties of Tasmanian native plants hang from the ceiling at different heights. Some have come to rest completely in the water.

Having ventured out as far as I can, I return to the safety of solid ground in time to hear artist Nicholas Low explain the highly sophisticated ideology behind this surreal, compelling installation. The seemingly random positioning of the pot plants is revealed to be a strategic analysis of data. Each plant, in turn, represents a single Tasmanian school student and their responses to a survey conducted by Low concerning climate change. Who should be accountable for climate change? What is contributing to it? What does the future look like?

The higher the pot plant is suspended, Low explains, the more optimism the child holds for the future. As I cast my eyes up to the ceiling, I feel a sense of relief to see that the majority of plants are suspended somewhere in between.

The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Arts Tasmania.

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