Washing Day (let them hang in the air)

Our collaborative work Washing Day (let them hang in the air) has been included in the show Unseen Sculptures, which is part of Sydney Art Month. The show runs from 9-31 March in Rozelle, Sydney and can be seen at anytime, as well as through tours running on Saturdays at 1pm from the dLux Media Arts pop up gallery at the corner of Darling and Waterloo Sts in Rozelle during the month of March.

Unseen Sculptures is a sculpture show with a difference. Instead of using real materials, the sculptures in the show are digitally-created 3D models made of polygons that are only visible when viewed through a device such as a smartphone or a tablet that is equipped with a camera , a GPS receiver and software called Layar.

Layar is a software that uses location data from the GPS receiver and the digital compass in the viewer’s device to calculate where the viewer is located in relationship to the POIs (Points of Interest), which is the GPS coordinates of where the “sculpture” has been placed by the artist. The digital compass is used by the software to calculate the orientation or the direction the viewer is facing. Using the location data of the viewer and the POIs, the software can control how the objects placed at the POIs appear on the screen of the user’s device.

Generally, Layar is used to overlay information over video feed obtained through the user’s device camera. The computer-generated overlay is made to “stick” over objects in the viewer’s surrounding area, seen through the user’s camera. This process is generally referred to as Augmented Reality (AR).

For this exhibition, our work is just at an early exploratory stage, to understand the process and limitations of the medium. Washing Day (let them hang in the air) is an attempt to look at the location (Callan Park) which used to be an asylum for the mentally-ill. The work specifically refers to the concept of laundry which is usually regarded as part of a person’s private domain (due to its proximity to the body) but is usually hung out to dry in public view.

The hospital complex at Callan Park is known to have an elaborate network of tunnels underground, which connect the various wards (now part of the campus of Sydney College of the Arts), the onsite laundry facilities and the Parramatta river. Patients, linen and supplies used to be transported to and from other hospital sites in Gladesville and Parramatta, through the tunnels and into the wards.

In a way, we would like Washing Day to be a memorial to the patients that used to inhabit the site and in some strange twist refer to a well-known poem called “A cloud in trousers” by Mayakovsky, a Russian poet from the early part of last century. The empty trousers are meant to indicate the absence of bodies (but a reference to their previous existence) and the changing clouds the passing of time.

We are very excited to work in this new medium for the first time and are looking forward to its development as a viable and accessible platform for creative interactivity. For artists, this medium promises exciting prospects of combining digital 3D modelling, sound production, video and others into an interactive experience that can take place outdoors.

Washing Day

Washing Day (let them hang in the air)