Wednesday, February 1, 2012

M12 Collective: Ornitarium

Ornitarium photograph by Richard Saxton

Next week sees the opening of Spaced - Art Out Of Place, the International Biennial of Socially Engaged Art. Members of the M12 collective will join the exhibition and its related symposium to speak about the installation they designed and implemented in Denmark, Australia: The Ornitarium.

This aesthetically elegant structure serves as a bird hide, a place of rest, and a site for art and contemplation - while welcoming local residents to consider the ecological and cultural landscape

The Ornitarium is housed at the Wetlands Education Centre and is operated by the group Green Skills.  Below, the M12 collective elaborates on the ideas behind this structure and its relationship to place. For more information, and larger high-resolution images, please visit here

This project has been inspired by “local knowledge” found in Southwestern Australia – specifically knowledge related to birds that populate the regions wetlands areas, regional timber types, and building methods. The work is designed and built as a bird hide and as a social space. The Ornitarium has a large front wall that stands as the dividing line between human habitat and wetland habitat, and a platform that invites visitors to spend time around the structure; encouraging learning and providing a catalyst for developing a deeper connection to the local environment and community.

The structure explores duality, and binds built space with environment—the inside expresses notions of the private, contemplative, communal, and reflective, and the outside wall stands to camouflage human engagement and reinforce fragmentation, and instinctive habitats such as nests and forests.
UPDATE: Here's Naomi Millet of The West Australian writing on the Spaced - Art Out Of Place installations: 
Towns such as Narrogin, Leonora, Northam and Mukinbudin are practical places. You might expect to see farmers there, and wheat bins, or sheep trucks, road trains and specialist machinery.

In the town centre, there might be a couple of granite and bronze memorials to founding pioneers but, apart from that, you wouldn't have very high hopes of encountering much sculpture, painting, multimedia or art in these often stark environments.

This perception is set to change dramatically with the emergence of Spaced: Art Out of Place, an ambitious biennial project featuring a collective of international and Australian artists which not only breaks new ground but also covers a vast amount of it.