Testing Ground

11-28th November, Watch This Space Gallery, 8 Gap Road, Mparntwe/ Alice Springs.

Testing Ground was a ritual of recovery, that made visible the damage to the ‘Ilparpa Claypans’, caused by dumping and invasive weeds.

Over the past 12 years I’ve witnessed the escalating deterioration of the ‘Ilparapa Claypans’. Buffel grass chokes Coolibah trees, dumping increases with council tip fees, and 4WD’s plough into the claypans, leaving deep scars in their wake. These impacts are entangled, and underwritten by colonialism, which, as a settler descended person, I am squarely implicated in.

Testing Ground positioned my body in service to place, through a daily practice of walking and recovering dumped material and invasive weeds. The re-presentation of these materials in the gallery space brough these harms into the public sphere, and with them questions of settler responsibilities for the damage caused by colonialism’s invasion and neglect of Aboriginal land.

Performance Installation: Kelly Lee Hickey

Sound Installation: Kelly Lee Hickey and Elliot Hughes.

Testing Ground took place on the unceded Arrernte lands. We recognise and respect the Arrernte people as the custodians and owners of this place.

Full Project Documentation Available on the Tender Places Website

This project was made possible by the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund, which supports the arts in regional and remote Australia and the Australian Post Graduate Award. It was produced as part of the creative research undertaken for my Doctorate of Philosophy at Victoria University.

Photo Credit: Kate La Greca

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