The Melbourne Festival: Human Effect – Mid-Week Review

By Angus Baird
Human Effect

By Angus Baird

“The very notion of domination of nature by man stems from the very real domination of human by human”- Murray Bookchin.

Standing alone in Lingham Lane I was confronted by a media work by Yendell Walton. Initially it appeared to be of poor composition and of very sloppy technical execution. This was until I realised that neither were the aim of the artist and rather that the aesthetic outcomes were a result of the implementation of new interactive technology paired with social critique.

… this narrative … is intended to represent not only life and death in its own loop duration and place, but what existed before the walls of its projection, before all of Melbourne and further still; before all settlement.

Teaming up with animator Tobias Edwards and software developer Jayson Haebich, Yandell Walton has installed an interactive media work that projects nature across the industrial blue stonewalls of the lane.

The plants whither and die as they are approached and then spring back into life as the audience reproach from their impact. It is clear that this narrative, which in being completed from start to end in moments, is intended to represent not only life and death in its own loop duration and place, but what existed before the walls of its projection, before all of Melbourne and further still; before all settlement.

This is the most effective thing about this work, as it has no ends to what the metaphorical use of plants moving from death to rebirth can mean.

The fact the work is embedded into the cityscape and can be seen in the environment on which it directly comments allows for a huge variety of different interpretations.  It’s freed of the vacuum of the gallery where the white walls and cultural context can disrupt the dynamic between the viewer and the viewed.  Outside the gallery it is free to expand as the viewer applies its meaning over the street outside the ally, and the city past the street, nation state and up until it covers the entirety of, not simply space and political borders, but all environmental/social politics.

Human Effect was an exhibition as part of the 2012 Melbourne Festival.

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