In mid 2012 MCR and MAB started working toward the realization of `Monument Park’ – a space between New Quay Promenade and `The Quays’ apartments. It seemed that this place had to address all the negative perceptions of the docklands. The ambition was to readdress retail, to provide shelter, to engage all ages, be playful, somewhere to sit and be `Art’. The artist Callum Morton’s submission was chosen and the collaboration was further enhanced by the inclusion of the landscape Architect Occulus. The rest of the description of the project is best served by quoting Callum’s `opening’ speech.
` ….about this place we have made here? First of all it is important to say that this is not a park with sculptures in it which some might be tempted to say, rather it’s one work that is a public park, a type of garden, a place to congregate, to sit, to shelter and play in. These forms that rise out of the ground and the plants that emerge through it, are underneath one plane that has been laid across the whole site. And this ground plane is in the end the true subject and unifying element…
Indeed from the beginning the idea was to create an artificial topography that would rise and fall across the site, and that that topography that would rise and fall would create opportunities to open up new worlds, above, between, below and through the ground.
…the Docklands plan is inextricably linked to the great grid of Melbourne, So with this in mind myself, MCR and Occulus began to explore the idea of using the original Hoddle Grid and its subdivisions as the pattern for the terrain or what we began to refer to as a `concrete rug’ that was laid across the site… and started to look at the public sculptures around the city…. Using some of these monuments as hidden forms, as objects from the archive, under the rug might work as a way to create the topography.
We then had a number of monuments 3D scanned to produce 3D computer models and started to place them strategically under the rug. Once fixed we began to break holes in the surface of the rug of the monuments themselves, whose interior spaces become these 3D gridded surfaces, and at other points we opened the ground plane of the rug where the landscape is eating its way through what might be regarded as a decaying surface.
So there you have it. Some founding fathers, a guy throwing a hammer and an abstract sculpture by a father – Burke and Wills, Matthew Flinders, Adam Lindsay Gordon, Pathfinder, Captain Cook, the Marquis of Linlithgow and Vault – are all covered and rising up from underneath the concrete and look a bit like funny ghosts or dementors from Harry Potter.’
Contributed by McBride Charles Ryan
Photo © Timothy Lee
Photo © Callum Morton