In her other-worldy, atmospheric installations, Lynette Wallworth is said to create,
moments of transfiguration that come wholly unlooked for, as puncturing instants of experience…instants of shift that slip in under the guise of wonder, of grief, in intimate connection with another.
An artist whose work spans video, photography and interactive technologies, Wallworth creates meeting points of beauty and intimacy, exploring our connections with the natural world, as well as fragile human states.
Her major and widely acclaimed Coral Rekindling Venus (2012) was an immersive film for full-dome digital planetariums, alongside an augmented reality companion work. It was inspired by a rare astronomical event when Venus passes directly between the sun and earth, aligned with the experience of alien beauty of corals that act as a barometer for climate change.
And, while the planetary location of her new work has shifted to the East Coast of NSW, Wallworth continues exploring the universal idea of resilience, “whether it’s natural systems or groups of people.”
Her new documentary feature Tender looks at grief. The film is about a feisty Port Kembla community group who decide to take back the responsibility that most of us leave to someone else, by setting up their own community-run funerals as a more supportive and less costly way to help people go through the process.
Wallworth talks of the dry wit and inherent hilarity of the people she worked with in Port Kembla, so extracting the funny side from very sad events seemed to come naturally. She says that while funerals are events that are terribly sad, there are moments of great camaraderie that can be hilarious and strange.”
Wallworth was naturally interested in how the ritual of the funeral can be facilitated. “Rather than trying to skim over the top of something, they can make us feel somehow benefitted by it. I am sure that is what the ritual is meant to do – help us know the person is really gone, acknowledge our love for them and feel that we can move forward.”
Tender came about out of an initiative between Adelaide Film Festival, Australia Council for the Arts, Screen NSW and ABC Arts, that invited artists that don’t traditionally work in film to produce a work in the form.
Wallworth – who has presented work at Sundance Film Festival, toured Holland with a work called Kafka Fragments and exhibited at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Auckland Triennial, England’s Brighton Festival as well as at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Melbourne and Adelaide Film Festival – still calls Sydney home.
Although she joined a pre-Olympics exodus from the city in 2000 when space to work grew scarce, she says that “the cultural landscape of Sydney has changed. You can feel it and you can see it. I feel reinvigorated in Sydney now in a way I wasn’t before.”
Wallworth talks of the benefit created by proliferating creative spaces and areas, like Newtown with Carriageworks, the live/work apartments on William Street and the creative facilities that will form part of a new residential tower [link].
A mix of artists of different forms that come together is a great idea. Production support is very important. Access to people and facilities leads to a growth of work.
Sydney is no stranger to Wallworth’s work – she has presented work at Sydney Festival, as well as including an augmented reality component of her Rekindling Venus project temporarily in Taylor Square, as part of City Art.
Don’t miss Tender on ABC1 on Sunday 22 June at 10:20pm.