Ross Gibson's blog

TreeChange Towns -- Innovative Scheme to promote awareness of cultural and environmental advantages

This post shows how a range of small towns are trying to help people experience and then invest their lives in the specific cultural characteristics of places that have been classified as no longer relevant or victims of progress.  The post comes from 

Along the Murray River

Very important and impressive, this big Linkage Project at the ANU Art School, partnered with the Murray Darling Basin Authority:

The project team wants to understand how artistic and evocative accounts of the Murray Darling ecologies and societies can sometimes shift or intensify peoples' deeply felt comprehension and appreciation of the places that they engage with.

It's very significant that the MDBA is so clear about wanting an inter-disciplinary and holistic  approach to the appreciation of the river n all its aspects and assets.

Growing a Cultural Asset ... and a Community ... from Scratch

Over at Sydney College of the Arts, where sits my office amidst the beautiful, sprawling, highly political site of Callan Park in Rozelle, I have 'commissioned' a garden. Or perhaps 'curated' is a better word.  If I'm the curator, Lucas and Diego are 'the artists'. The idea is to transform a piece of unused land behind the Library, to use various 'logics' from the art world, from community activity and from permaculture and horticulture in ways that draw people to the place and enhance their sense of attachment to the place.  

Iconic Landscapes -- ecology and animal and human communities -- all of them are assets

For the past year, at the University of Sydney, I've been involved in a splendid inter-disciplinary project called 'Iconic Landscapes', which has examined three different research zones, to understand not only the ecological intricacies of the regions but also the extent to which different groups of 'stakeholders'  care about the regions and try to protect, promote or impede the vibrancy of knowledge arising from each region.  

The regions: Central Australian Desert and Channel Country; NSW western grazing lands; Sydney Harbour sea-walls.  

Seven Years Ago, this was what I wanted ... still do

Attached is a tiny video file (a bit cruddy) of an animation that I commissioned along with collaborator Kate Richards (consulting also with Tony MacGregor). It was put together in tandem with by a Paddington company called PXL.

Gorgeous in its original BIG 250 meg file, this little movie is a taster for our dream of a relational database that can be raised and animated out of a social-media map.

An Essay About Country and Administrative Efficiency

I wrote this short piece about ten years ago, for a book about INFRASTRUCTURE. I was worried at the time (still am!) about how the full connectedness of country was not being served by our modern regimes of administration. The editors asked for 400 words. The issue was so big and the time was so short that I decided I might as well swing hard and 'get some runs or get out', as they say in country cricket.



Knowledge Management in National Parks

I'm a Partner Investigator on a Linkage Project with RMIT and Parks Victoria. Based in Wilson's Prom, the project is investigating whether Social Media can be useful in the acquiring, storing and communicating the tacit knowledge that Park Rangers and regular visitors all hold in their quiet devotion to the place. On the last visit to the Prom, talking with the prodigiously knowledgeable Parks folks, I was struck by how there's the possibility of a loosely organised, ritualised body of COMMUNAL knowledge. No one person knows everything.

The 'mission statement' for all my 'Sentiment Mapping' projects

"Let me hope the whole of that landscape we shall essay to travel in is visible and may be known as there all at once; let this be borne in mind, in order that, when we descend among its windings and blockades, into examination of slender particulars, this its wholeness and simultaneous living map may not be neglected, however lost the breadth of the country may be in the winding walk of each sentence."

James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men,
first published 1941, reprinted London:
Picador Classic, 1988, p.111.

Stony Rises Project -- part of the Affective Atlas

Over the past year, I've been involved in the Affective Atlas project by RMIT. We've travelled all over the remarkable country, met people, conceptualised artworks and texts that will be exhibited across Victoria in 2010. We've found all kinds of assets and sentiments invested across this country that Thomas Mitchell called 'Australia Felix' and that indigenous people have settled and engineered for thousands of years.

Here's the basic blurb:


Affective Atlas projects at RMIT

Some folks at RMIT, coming at the topic principally from a perspective encompassing design and architecture, are working in a similar way. This is the research project that they've dubbed "The Affective Atlas". They are working mainly in the environs of the Western District of Victoria. Here's a link to one their first papers about the project:

The team includes Harriet Edquist, William Cartwright, Adrian Miles, Brian Morris, Laurene Vaughan and Jeremy Yuille.

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