Alison Clouston & Boyd

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Beaming

Plaster, indigenous plants, bird netting Soundtrack, solar powered sound system, movement sensors Greenhouse audit and offset. Length app 70 metres (variable), Height app 700 mm

At the Waterworks, an elegant Victorian building houses the immense steam-powered Appleby Beam Engine. Building and Engine are a beautiful expression of Victorian civic achievement, pumping water for Goulburn from 1883 to 1918.

Breathing and sighing as its vast beam rocks power from the sliding pistons to the turning crankshaft, the beam engine is like a living organism. Yet it is emblematic of the Industrial Revolution, a forest and fossil-fuelled trajectory that would bring us to the point, in our own century, where we face dangerous climate change, with its drought and species loss.

In response to this enormity, we two collaborate in a fragile defensive line of white bird mesh that protects our spring plantings of locally indigenous species. Little Forts guarding its length are cast scale models of the Engine House. Ghostly white, they emit the ghost-sounds of the machine age, in a soundtrack composed from recordings of the Appleby Beam Engine and the Hick Hargreaves Horizontal Engine in operation.

Our customary greenhouse audit for the artwork was offset by the progressive plantings and the sequestration of carbon on site.

2009 “Beaming” for Wandering the Wollondilly, Wollondilly River, Goulburn Regional Gallery

 

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