Alchemic Island

About Project

The project theme was 'Excavating the Future: Presence and Absence' in a metaphorical play on the relationship between what we find in the past and present moment and our imaginative capacities for creating future, alternative realities. The site for excavation was Cockatoo Island.

We employed the Body Probe method when examining the island, trying to develop a mind-body connection to the island. I then conducted some family research and discovered that my grandfather worked on the island as a nautical engineer. Moreover, my great-grandfather as a child lived aboard a school ship for boys, The Vernon, which was docked off the Island. The ship housed neglected boys and was intended to teach them nautical skills. I wanted to explore my family connection to the island, so when designing the sculpture, I imagined steel veins that rusted like the industrial machines my grandfather worked on. These veins came out like roots from the ground, connecting me to the environment. Extending the concept, the sculpture is a physical representation of those often unseen, characteristics that lay within Cockatoo Island: the cracks in the island; the roots of the trees; the veins in the leaf and, the sleek tangled shape of seaweed. The sculpture is made of steel, encompassing and amalgamating these features with the industrialised nature of the island.

By touching the imagery projected onto the silicon (chosen for its skin-like texture), a connection is made between the individual and the island. The transference of imagery from the sculpture (or island) to the individual exposes, in an almost vulnerable way, its underlying detail, connecting us to the island’s fabric.


Stephanie Fynn - Interaction Designer

Jonathan McEwan - Interaction Designer

Heather McKinnon - Interaction Designer

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