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A creative collaboration between art, science and community as part of the 20th Anniversary of Sculpture by the Sea 2016
‘Operation Crayweed Art-Work-Site’ is a multi-faceted, environmental performative and participatory art and science project that celebrates a significant and far-reaching good news story for Sydney’s coastal marine biodiversity: the return of crayweed and its inhabitants.
This ‘art-work-site’ has been established along Sydney’s Bondi to Bronte walk as part of this years Sculpture by the Sea. It physically and conceptually highlights the otherwise invisible underwater crayweed reforestation project ‘Operation Crayweed’ being carried out in the bay between Marks Park and the South Bondi Headland.
Operation Crayweed Art-Work-Site comprises an environmental land artwork that wraps around Bondi Bay, a participatory project with local school students, performative events with ocean swimmers and scientific education and qualitative research.
The artwork’s ‘safety fence’ runs half a kilometre along the famous coastal walk from Marks Park to the South Bondi Headland. Its sinuous line describes the form of the bays landscape and highlights the scientific reforestation work going on beneath
The Art-Work-Site fence line is accompanied by a safety buoy anchored in the bay to denote the general work site area. Three ‘view-scopes’ of similar construction at Hunter Parkfocus attention down to the underwater worksite below.
The vibrant yellow elements are visually striking in the environment and adopt the colour that denotes ‘special project’ in maritime safety language. More poetically, the artwork interacts with the bays ever-changing wind and light to cast diurnally transforming shadows along the coastal path and activate the fence line with a flutter of massed linear bunting.
The art installation utilises everyday ready-made land and sea site safety materials including barrier mesh, work-site bunting, crab floats and marine buoys. The materials are plastic and selected for their weather-proof durability in the exposed coastal conditions. Other materials were investigated but were either not durable or proved environmentally problematic for the marine environment. The selected materials will be carefully installed and removed to protect against loss into the environment, re-used in future ‘art-work-site’ installations along the coast and then eventually recycled.
Local school children have engaged in a series of science and art workshops to learn about the reforestation and the rich biodiversity it will sustain. They have made wonderful wearable sculptures of some of the marine animals that will inhabit the Crayweed forests employing the same materials as the ‘art-work-site’ fence. The students will perform a ‘Crayweeders’ parade in their sculptures for the launch of the project accompanied by a local school choir and band whose music has been reworked especially for the event.
On weekends a team of Ocean swimmers wearing yellow bathing caps and flippers will swim around the buoy and dive beneath the waves in a lively display designed to draw attention to the Crayweed underwater reforestation site.
Finally, Operation Crayweed scientists will be on site at Hunter Park and Marks Park to inform interested members of the community about the rehabilitation project and to carry out surveys to ascertain the value of the art and science collaboration.
Coogee, Clovelly, Rainbow Street and Bronte Public Schools
Randwick Boys High School and Randwick Girls High Schools
Tiggers Honeypot Childcare Centre
NSW Government Recreational Fishing Trust
NSW Environmental Trust
Helen Lempriere Scholarship Perpetual
Sculpture by the Sea
Sea Life Trust
Coogee Public School
Clovelly Public School
Rainbow Street Public School
Bronte Public School
Randwick Boys High School
Randwick Girls High School
Tiggers Honeypot Childcare Centre