The Urban Beautification Scheme (2012 - 2013)
Multiple locations around Melbourne and New York
A series of urban interventions originally begun in preparation for a residency in New York. It is now an on-going project. An excerpt from an interview with Ragini Nag Rao of the Creators Project outlines the project and my approach to working in an urban environment…
How is working with the urban space different from working with natural landscapes for you? How different is your perception of the two, if at all?
Its extremely different for me, both in my head and with my hands. I only really started working in urban spaces about 18 months ago in preparation for a residency in New York – I thought I should try to learn a few things before submerging myself in one of the most unnatural places on the planet. One of the main threads of my work is my attempt to completely avoid language, in order to create an experience that is more felt, or sensed than intellectual – more primal. It took me a heavy period of confusion and frustration to understand why I couldn’t work in the same way in an urban space and I realised it was because I was completely surrounded by language. Everything is made, or placed with a sense of purpose in some way by the hands of man and this presence of intent forces you to engage in a different dialogue with the space you’re in. You can’t speak English to a Chinese person and expect much of a conversation, so I had to involve the language of the built environment in my work.
I think it’s a huge part of why we seek nature to clear our heads. In nature you can do away with the noisy language of your own thoughts and the sensual bombardment of life in the city leaves us so we can breathe and exist in a purer context.