SymbioticA, a ground-breaking artistic research laboratory at The University of Western Australia, is taking its long-term art and ecology research project, Adaptation, on the road. Exploring the microbe to the macro and everything in between, Adaptation is a project supported by SymbioticA and Mandurah City Council, and undertaken by artists at Lake Clifton, 115km south of Perth, since 2008.
Starting from next February, artists-in-residence involved in the project will begin a wide-ranging tour with an exhibition of their work created over the past four years.
Lake Clifton as a location and as a metaphor offers a microcosmic peek into the broader issues of ecology and life itself. The site has the world’s most significant remaining colony of thrombolites – building blocks of life which form the basis of the artworks – and is under threat from encroaching development.
Adaptation broadly covers issues spanning from the creation of life, Indigenous culture, colonisation, scientific discovery and economic booms to fragility in the face of climate change.
Featuring artists from Western Australia, France and Columbia, the artworks explore ecological fragility via the thrombolite colony. Thrombolites are found wherever cyano bacteria thrives. This bacteria processed the Earth’s atmosphere to a state where the oxygen levels made other life forms viable.
Adaptation presents a range of perspectives about this area in the form of sound and sculptural installations, microscopy and video works, accompanied by a full catalogue that includes scientific and Indigenous commentaries.
The travelling exhibition is expected to last two years and will include a broad range of locations throughout regional WA and the rest of Australia.
SymbioticA is the first university-based research laboratory of its kind in the world, enabling artists and researchers to engage in wet biology practices in UWA’s School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology.
The laboratory hosts residents, workshops, exhibitions and symposiums, and offers a new means of artistic inquiry where artists actively use the tools and technologies of science, not just to comment about them but also to explore their possibilities.
Art Orienté Objet, Plutôt Que Tout (More Than Everything); video
Juan M. Castro, Heliotropika; video
Oron Catts, The Autotroph; sculpture
Galliano Fardin, Yalgorup; painting
Catherine Higham, Still Life; digital prints
Gloria Kearing And Rob Ewing, The River Of Spirits; print
Perdita Phillips, The Sixth Shore, sound installation
Vyonne Walker, Slowest Growing Sculpture, sculpture installation
Carmel Wallace, Visualizing Adaptation: Surface And Beyond, digital prints and video
Annamaria Weldon, Sharing The Edge, poetry, digital prints and artist’s book
Ilsa Bennion (Art on the Move) (+61 8) 9249 3479