2006 | Translating Broken Space

ANU Gallery Canberra

Anchored in geographic and socio-economic histories of the Northern Goldfields of Western Australia, Helen Seiver's work endeavours to translate spaces which have been interrupted, disturbed and disconnected, ie: broken.

Through colonisation and industrialisation West Australian landscape bears both physical and emotional scars and this current work translates landscape as both physical and subjective space. These concerns are expressed in two forms: The first is of stakes which represent the 'stakeholders' in history. Torn story book pages, found artefacts, text, and oil paint are used as elusive fragments alluding to the 'broken' space. The physical layering of these components and elements contextualise the translation process by juxtaposing children's thrilling adventure stories (textual fragments) with goldfields artefacts. The values conveyed during childhood by these texts maintained a gaze distant from the (invisible) reality of this subjective space. A 'space' which included the Indigenous Australians, dislocated from culture, language and land, as well as the toil and great hardships of the explorers and colonists. The artefacts, being merely vestiges and scraps of leftover dreams, are perhaps a more honest translation of the 'adventure' and space.

The second form is scarified sheet lead. The 'scars' are impressions of wire once used in 'jerry-built' goldfields construction and reminiscent of the fragility and precarious nature of life in that time and place.