Suspended is a project that I am currently working on that responds to the COVID-19 pandemic and the changing sense of movement and stillness in the city. The project draws directly from my experience of living in Melbourne at this time and my observations, photos and videos will inform a series of suspended paper sculpture installations.
Throughout the project I will be posting regular updates with observations and documentation of the work in progress both here and on Instagram @laujwilliams
This project is supported by the City of Melbourne COVID-19 Arts Grants.
19 MAY 2020
With restrictions slowly loosening, the city feels a lot lighter and a bit busier this week. The clear blue skies of the last few days have definitely helped. Some things I’ve been looking at or noticing this week:
- colourful carpets of autumn leaves around the city
- the immediate return of fishing off the piers in Docklands
- the beautifully maintained Royal Botanic Gardens (now open again)
- the return of selfies
- the amount of people jogging around the Tan Track
Some things I’m doing that are feeding into the project: downloading plant and animal species identification apps, daily crosswords, noticing the variety of lights around the city, checking the vegetable garden every day for developments and still looking wistfully at the still water of the local swimming pool.
The artworks are gradually coming together, with a lot of paper-cutting and stringing elements together along with some more detailed paintings of observations.
7 MAY 2020
Walking through the city I’ve noticed this dichotomy between things being either loudly OPEN with big signs advertising the fact; or quietly closed. The streets are still except for buildings being busily constructed and tram lines being fixed. Teams in fluoro are cleaning surfaces, branches are being cut down and there are window washers slowly descending down the sides of buildings. I see one plane in the sky and realise how quiet this space above our heads has become.
Over in the Carlton Gardens, water cascades from the fountain and the parterre plantings are immaculately shaped in shades of purple and green. Bees buzz while people contemplate amongst the falling leaves.
5 MAY 2020
This is the seventh week of staying mostly at home and I’m craving that feeling of being in open space. There are a lot of green spaces in the city but they sometimes feel too tidy when I just want to see nature in its element. I’ve always been drawn to the native grassland ‘hilltop’ circle in Royal Park but even more so now. It is a strange place with a footpath around the perimeter that I have often walked around but I’ve only recently worked out why I like it so much. The circle is roughly 300 metres to the other side and full of various grasses with only one or two trees. When the wind hits the grasses, they move in unison like waves, and remind me of a sort of inland sea. The trees around the perimeter also create a flat horizon line which is hard thing to find in the city. At a time when I can’t get to a coastal horizon, this circle of grasses feels like an alternative to that sense of space.