Craig Walsh on His Astounding 2013 Setouchi Triennale Project, Pt.2

(Courtesy Craig Walsh)

Australian artists Craig Walsh and Hiromi Tango have created an amazing installation for the 2013 Setouchi Triennale that has to be seen to be believed. Developed in conjunction with the people of Teshima Island, Japan, “Traces Blue” is a multi-faceted portrait of the Island and its residents.

 Described by Walsh as a “mixed media, site responsive intervention in collaboration with the village of Kou and communities across Teshima Island,” the feature of the multi-faced project is a surreal mirrored fishing boat that is tethered to the shore by a series of community-made ropes.

There are several other facets to the installation but the best person to explain the different elements is the artist himself, Craig Walsh, who ARTINFO Australia had the privilege of interviewing. In part two of this two-part interview, Walsh explains the significance of the site-specific elements and reveals his objectives for the project.

What is the significance of the site-specific elements?

The project is obviously based on a site specific premise, but I think it is more interesting to consider it as an interventionist work as it involved a process in which the manipulation and rearrangement of existing elements form changes in the perceptions of that place. This not only includes the objects, built, and natural environments, but also the spaces we provided in which ideas and dialogue can emerge from the community connected to this environment.

What do you hope to achieve with the project?

The major challenge when creating a work such as this is to constantly consider who the work is for? Our objective was to create a meaningful exchange and space for the community to express itself, enabling that expression to provide a greater incite for a broader audience. It is the recognition that it is as important to respect the community engagement component as it is to contribute to the broader dialogue within contemporary art and its audience.

Adhering to a strict formal and conceptual structure in which there is much space within these boundaries for community expression and ideas is a broad formula we use to straddle these objectives and hopefully create meaningful exchange for both contributors and visitors. The work provides an intimate insight into the village of Kou and its members, and as the work evolved it clearly expresses the resilience, strength, and community spirit of these people in a time of great change.

We have for a long time been inspired by the Art Setouchi project, it is an example of how art can function and have purpose outside of traditional structures whilst in real terms contribute greatly to the economic and cultural sustainability of these islands. We hope that our project contributes to the greater objectives of Art Setouchi and the Triennale whilst providing a moment in time for the village of Kou to reflect on their circumstance.

Click the slideshow to see images of Walsh and Tango's “Traces Blue”