TarraWarra Biennial 2021: Slow Moving Waters
Curated by Nina Miall
TarraWarra Museum of Art
Neon, scanned work on paper, timber frame with Dibond backing
Flow Equation investigates river systems, specifically the ways in which water is reassigned from a natural life force to a commodity and cultural resource. Conceived as a sequential narrative mirroring the trajectory of the river, each lightbox in this series refers to a point of human intervention along the upper Birrarung (Yarra River), in the vicinity of TarraWarra. These are charged sites at which the natural flow of the river is interrupted, altered or diverted by commercial, technological and cultural forces, often co-opted by human interest.
To the left of the lightbox is a neon drawing derived from hand-drawn studies of river debris captured at various floodlines along the Birrarung. These neon marks collide with an experimental, back-lit works on paper, made on-site using a solar-powered handheld scanner (a reconfigured flatbed scanner) its rendering of the landscape characterised by glitches in the data feed, the erratic movements of the hand, and prismatic refractions of light.
The tension within the frame contrasts the self-determined flow of the river and the intervention of that agency for the purposes of human expediency. Suspended in a moment of high-pressure flux and diversion, Flow Equation suggests the tumultuous intersection of these forces of nature and culture, evoking the many invisible histories, archaeologies and contemporary utilities of these timeworn waterways.