Author Archives: Steve Scamp Back

Mosaic artwork tells of impact

Floodlines Art 1

Floodlines Art 1

What I’ve found most amazing, most heart-breaking, heart-warming, and always intriguing is exploring the images submitted by the public. These are their views and more importantly their visions of how the water born disasters impacted their lives and communities. There are images of debris piles punctuate by a dirty toy bear or couches playfully placed in deep water, a place to sit on a flooded street. Some of the photographs show people at their best, helping neighbours and rescuing the stranded, while others highlight the power of Queensland’s weather and implications to our built and natural environments.

Floodlines Art 2

Floodlines Art 2

Floodlines Art 3

Floodlines Art 3

This is an artwork conceptualized by myself, Lubi Thomas and the State Library team, but with a soul built by the cameras of Queenslanders.

Floodlines Art 4

Floodlines Art 4

Floodlines Art 5

Floodlines Art 5

The hard part, as an artist, was to find a way to incorporate these images into a dynamic and interactive artwork, and yet not distracting from the images themselves.  The mosaic artwork does this by continuously generating mosaics, allowing the user to explore, find new images and continue navigating, forever exploring the connections between these Queensland visions. And the result is an artwork that tells a story, or rather a near infinite series of stories, tales of recovery, loss and dare I say, hope, which with every click form and reform, like the weather itself.

- Written by Jason Nelson, Artist

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Floodlines launch and Augmented Reflections app

The launch of Floodlines is drawing closer and as a member of the exhibition team I can confirm that we are all pretty excited and nervous about revealing it to the Queensland public. Although it feels like 2010/2011 summer floods were just a couple of months ago (sadly some towns are still being affected by flooding) it has been a long time coming for the exhibitions team.

Augmented Reflections ipod

Augmented Reflections ipod

It felt nothing short of surreal as I helped assemble the lighting fixtures in the SLQ gallery. I reflected over the many months our team has worked tirelessly on gathering, sorting, and organising this exhibition. I have learnt a great deal about designing a high tech exhibition in a not-so-high-tech gallery space. I love slq Gallery but, like all exhibition spaces, there are always minor challenges that impact on each exhibition, and influencing curatorial and design decisions. The real challenge is not to let technical and power requirements control and determine exhibition design.

With a total of 6 projections, 9 touch screens and 10 free-roaming iPads there are a number of technical and power issues that could affect how the gallery was presented. As the exhibition had so many technical requirements it seemed almost impossible for the space to be presented without cords lying around and heath and safety officers shaking their heads at us. With extensive research and equipment-testing we came up with a solution that not only works with all of our technical equipment but leaves our gallery as a trip-hazard free zone!

Augmented Reflections 3D

Augmented Reflections 3D

Our next major focus was how to present an Augmented Reality (AR) app developed by Josephmark called Floodlines: Augmented Reflections. Augmented Reflection is for iPhone and iPad devices, and uses flood map data to provide you with new 3D perspectives of the Brisbane River and surrounding suburbs and the rising waters during the devastating Brisbane floods of 2010/11.

Using cutting edge augmented reality technology the app allows you to see the flood waters rise from 2D to new 3D aerial perspectives, and simulates the flooding across the Brisbane CBD and 13 surrounding areas. The app extends exhibition visitors’ understanding of the power of technology to visualise and share information.

People are seeing augmented reality applications implemented by major institutions such as the TATE in London, the Venice Biennale, and New York’s MOMA, so we were thrilled to bring this app to Queensland audiences – not only as platform for interaction, sharing and learning, but as a digital artwork in its own right.

We want this exhibition to reach as many Queenslanders as possible. If you can’t come to the physical space you can access the Floodlines: Augmented Reflections markers through our website. To download the app, print the marker and start to experience the floods in a digital 3d version.

- Written by Brittney Ouston, staff member

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  1. I saw a demonstration of the floodlines app on ABC24 last night and promptly downloaded it, only to discover that you can only use this app in the exhibition itself or by using printed markers available on your website. I have looked everywhere logically on the State library website as well as the SL Blogs website. It really should not be a challenge to find the downloadable markers that are mentioned in several places but never linked to.

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Pre-launch thoughts

Flood and Cyclone Mosaic

3 days until the opening of Floodlines and it’s a mix of nervousness and excitement as the last of the works are being hung in the Philip Bacon Heritage Gallery, the tech is being tested is the slq gallery and the last of the vinyl is being put up!

Floodlines started as a conversation on Level 4 in February 2011 whilst slq was still shut for repairs after the floods and around the state – areas were still being inundated. The journey started by uncovering – with Helen Gregory – the forgotten history of floods in the 1800’s and the first image of the Victoria Bridge crashing into the Brisbane River blew me away. It also made us think that images just like this one must be in Queenslanders personal collections and that we have to do something in order to capture these stories.

This journey – Floodlines – has humbled me as I continue to hear of the most heroic stories, meet some of the people who touched so many lives, collaborate with very talented digital artists and curators including Jason Nelson and Lubi Thomas and work with JosephMark on what would seem to be an Australian first – Augmented Reflections!

What we knew early on in the piece was that we wanted this exhibition to be about the people, the stories of the people – highlighting the strength of communities – as sometimes that is all that is left standing! Which is where the foundations of the Flood and Cyclone Mosaic project came from – a space for people to share their memories and be connected across Queensland through image.

The questions we continued to ask ourselves when curating the show:

  • How do we make sense of the information, data, the stories?
  • How do we provide opportunities for story telling?
  • How do we represent the experience of the people – most having experienced this through technology – emails, tweets, texts, photo and the way it maintained a human connection.

These mediums matter – this is our history in 100 years time. We currently treasure and keep diaries, hand-written letters and physical objects and we need to make sure that we keep our born-digital connections and collections because they will tell our stories.

Floodlines is an acknowledgement of the uniqueness of living in Queensland and that for many, it has changed their world. We go through natural events – if you are in St George – 3 floods in 2 years! For some people in Queensland this is a regular occurrence. We Queenslanders seem to have this incredible capacity for resilience – its very inspiring. Where do people pull their resilience from? This exhibition explores this – the people and their capacity to rebuild and recover.

I hope that exhibition is one of those that people come and take the time to listen, to share and to reflect on what it means to live in Queensland and also be inspired by our community, the ideas we have, and the technology that allows us to see our events through a new lens (an augmented reality one in fact!)

I would also like the thank to Department of Communities and Department of Health for their ongoing guidance and support in developing this exhibition.

- Written by Linda Pitt, staff member

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