Urban Islands: Trip to the Island

Yesterday the students, instructors and organisers of Urban Islands led off to Cockatoo Island, also generously offered for me to tag along.

On the ferry trip over, the instructors were huddled about the front part of the rivercat awaiting the very first glimpse of this island, some wondering if the remarks out of the night before on the island not present could have some truth to them. But as we came around a bend – there it was! Cameras came out and fingers pointed as we disembarked and drew closer.

For all those of you unfamiliar with Cockatoo Island, it is a island in Sydney Harbour which has been, at various points of it’s history, a fishing place for Aborigines, also a prison for convicts, reforming facilities for young boys and girls, in addition to a major ship-building facility.
The result has been a mishmash of structures and structures from various eras populating the Isle. You may find out more about the Isle here.

The very first stop was the Store Room of those aged facilities. The students had been giving a job to finish overnight – a version that showed different views of the identical object from different ends of the model (often between a transformation). It turned out that the measurements in the short was given to match and the students started putting their versions.

The students had to offer 30 presentations on their own models, and we worked our way. The caliber of the job was extraordinarily quite high. The concepts being introduced were exceptional, and the craftsmanship that went to the job (especially thinking about the time constraints) was really quite astonishing.

Following the presentations, the teams split off to their Studios to begin performing some initial work.

The groups gathered together again, and then we all were taken to get a tour of the Isle. Hour and half was sufficient to whet the appetite for what, and as it turned out the Island had to offer you. The variety of structures, level of maintenance and age was so wide it had been a nearly surreal experience. Prior to walking up 2 buildings to to a workshop for building ships, one minute you’ll be in stye convict cells. Some of those older buildings remained mostly untouched, although others had been reinforced and modified to suit their brand new and “enhanced” roles.

We had been treated to a mixture of interesting tales and facts by our guide as we all walked around the various locations. The pupils scribbling notes down of fascinating titbits, photographing everything and anything which could prove useful. The excursion over all too early, I had to leave – but the pupils remained for a continuing afternoon of inspiration and work.

Urban Islands: The Symposium

This day a symposium was held to finish the first day of Urban Islands 2009. An area of 60 or so students in an area in UTS combined together alongside a couple of guests to start throwing ideas around about their projects on Cockatoo Island. As Thomas Rivard place it “the intent is to place too much to your heads. After all, too much is always just about right”.

Following a short introduction the pupils we divide into 5 classes (each with a couple of the special guests to seat) and were posed a question get them talking distinct epochs of the Island’s history and then return to the room to facilitate further discussion. Allow me to briefly run over what all the groups had to say.

The Geological

The first group had the job of studying the geological areas of Cockatoo Island, facing the question “If an Island sits in the center of the volcano and no-one sees it, does this exist?

They covered all aspects of reality and existence, themselves questioning “Have we landed on the moon”? The Isle is present it doesn’t. Unless we’re physically on Cockatoo Island then we must rely on evidence to prove its existence.

The truth is in this modern world, we have come to be nearly entirely reliant on technology to show the occurrence of something. We look photos to prove the occurrence of Cockatoo Island, or look at Google maps. But can we anticipate tech?

The Colonial

This group has been looking at the colonial background of Cockatoo Island and also the contrast between the reality of its violence and brutality in comparison to this romanticised, picturesque view of it., Posed the question “Do we need to burst the glorious myths of the past” the chose to change the emphasis from “exploding” into “exposing”.

Different ideas were thrown around, thinking about the history of the island and the fact that dispossession of the property was as significant a component of the history since the colonial use itself. The question has been to expose that, but to let people create their own decisions.

Some possible approaches appeared to be associated with merely aiming to emphasize and existing parts of the island to people, somehow keeping people from impacting on the island themselves while still being able to experience it, and also the possibility of partnering with Native Australian’s to produce possibilities for the Isle.

The Industrial

In taking a look at the Island’s background as a shipyard for warships (jointly productive and destructive) this group was contemplating this question; “From the ontological celebrity death match, that wins? Tactics or tactility?”

Arguments from both sides were heard. The Isle is strategic – its considered, own is pre-planned and considered. Through its layout and actual usage, its whole existence is strategic.

It is tactile. The island gives a sensory overload of shape and texture. The enormous industrial ruins are cathedrals, monuments to business and fill us with an longing for what was once there.

At the conclusion of the day, use and the Island’s inception may have been tactical, but the tactility is the thing that lasts.

The Article Industrial

Taking a look at the postmodern Cockatoo Island – a place where the imagery of the past is turned scenic, this group was seeking to answer the query ” Te Ta or Bladerunner; Who owns our future?”

These are just two competing, nevertheless both distopian, perspectives of the future. Te Ta arranged and envisages a modernist world. The world of Bladerunner is filthy, complicated, a consumerist and technological distopia.

This group came to the conclusion that there are 3 wide ways in which the Island could be worked on. The first is to concentrate on presenting and maintaining the background of the Island. Secondly, there is the option to clear the property and begin afresh, with a vision of building something clean and pure (Ta Te). The next option is to embrace the existing grunge and nature of the site, and start to add layers of complexity (Bladerunner)

The Future (information age)

This group was confronting the query “Provocation or Disambiguation” and their response was a pitch for a new film.

The year is 2013 and also the Isle has once again been made off limits to visitors. A group of Danish Backpackers on a ship from Mexico crash to the Island, stranding them and in the procedure starting a fire that levels everything on the Island. They survive and plant seeds that they are carrying with them.

The Island begins to become overgrown with flora, a new regrowth. Boats start to return to the Isle, but on docking, the flora overtakes them and they are added to the land mass Island. Eventually Cockatoo Island becomes attached to the mainland.

There was a brief discussion on some thoughts that had been brought up so 22, considering the groups with presented. The pupils were encouraged not to take care of the Isle TOO reverentially having thoughts. It was said that the organic rise of the Island had ended, and we should now think in ways that were various. Just like a tree that has died, it is not a living thing, but like wood, is a raw material. It’s time look ahead and to lose the nostalgia.

While the guests grouped talking thoughts raised during the day the pupils all filed out to get back to work. They all head out to the Isle for the very first time to learn what they are working 19, tomorrow.

Smart Light Fields

Smart Light Sydney showcases light artwork sculptures that are dynamic and is also the only lighting event driven by energy conscious and advanced design to reevaluate the significance of light design in its role and towns in the city nightscape.

On Customs House Square, Lumenocity features a set of lanterns representing a power consumption map of the buildings of this city.

Doves that Cry in the Red Room, is a light and sound installation motivated from the ‘drawing room’ and featuring recycled light fixture reflectors that represent doves flocking to the piano that is dark.

Smart Light Fields is a stay mapping of festival goers across Circular Quay’s movement.

At Customs House, suspended from the atrium, is a lycra installation illuminated with daylight by day and LEDs by night, that the Green Void.