University of Tasmania
whole_EllmoosNielsNeilsen2007_thesis.pdf (37.18 MB)

The entropic landscape : exploring the intersection between digital media, large-scale drawings and sculpture in response to the cultural landscape of Zeehan, Tasmania, Australia

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posted on 2023-05-26, 21:14 authored by Ellmoos, Niels Neilsen
This research is an investigation into a visual language as my response and reading of the narrative related to a sense of place in an altered landscape: a space where humans have carved their autobiography into the earth. Robert Smithson, in the 1960s characterised regions like these as the edges of post-industrialism or Nonspaces. They also exist as communities, holding onto an identity forged by their definitive history and cultural influences. Incorporated in the research is the exploration of ordinary or everyday landscapes within the context of Cultural Landscape studies. In focussing on the 'shaping' of the town and environs of Zeehan, a once burgeoning mining settlement on the West Coast mining strip of Tasmania, history, industrial archaeology and the impact on the natural environment are taken into account. Zeehan is a shadow of its dynamic past, a boom and bust story that is now enshrined in a local museum, and evident in the relics adorning the main street and surrounding countryside. It is a place of hidden history inextricably linked to the development of Tasmania. However in the new millennium the underground continues to be the lifeblood of this former silver boomtown. Seeking an appropriate format of presentation of this cultural landscape resulted in the development of installation-based artwork: an intersection between digital media, large-scale drawing and sculptural concepts. Re-interpreting and re-presenting the spirit of nature and technological interaction in the so-called Nonspace incorporates the exploration of a phenomenological approach as well as more formal methodologies. The research also examined the concept of the Nonsite. According to Smithson, the Nonsite was a representation or interpretation of a particular site: an abstract three-dimensional logical picture. With its integration of diverse media, the project relates to a field of artists and filmmakers working within the themes of Cultural Landscape (Jan Senbergs, Susan Norrie and Jem Cohen), Museum Strategy/Archaeology as Myth (Mark Dion, Alan McCollum), and The Grand Narrative (Joan Jonas, Kutlag Ataman and Bill Viola). I discuss their works in relation to matters concerning landscape and human intervention, historical discourse, fragmentation of time, the blurring of boundaries and the overlapping of genres. My original contribution to the field is to extend the presentation of the documentary film/video genre from an ostensibly two-dimensional medium to an installation based artwork within an art gallery space utilising the seemingly incongruent mediums of large-scale drawings and sculptural elements. Within this context the resulting narrative creates an environment, which both immerses the viewer and provides contemplation, presenting a re-interpretation of the Nonsite as reading of the Nonspace.


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Copyright 2006 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (PhD)--University of Tasmania, 2007. Includes bibliographical references

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