AUGUST 31, 2022. GRACE EBERT
Charlotte’s Descendents (2022) for Charlotte SHOUT! All images © Craig Walsh
In the mid-nineties, Australian artist Craig Walsh created his first projection at Woodford Folk Festival in Queensland. Made with photographic slides, the massive installation temporarily transformed a tree into a large-scale portrait, enlivening the canopy and initiating what’s become a 30-year project.
Now encompassed within the artist’s Monuments series, the digital works continue to animate landscapes and public spaces around the globe, and they’ve evolved in breadth and scope, sometimes incorporating live video and sound that allows viewers to interact with the illuminated characters. Blinking, yawning, and displaying various facial expressions, the emotive figures address both connections between people and their surroundings and conversations around whose stories are upheld and disseminated. “The work in the early days conceptually linked more to how the environment we exist in influences the human condition,” Walsh tells Colossal. “Surveillance was another interpretation.”
“Churaki Hill” (2017), three-channel synchronized digital video, projections, and existing trees, from Bleach Festival, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Today, the responsive installations more directly address traditional narratives and challenge “the selective history represented in our public spaces,” he says. Many of the Monuments celebrate people who significantly impacted their communities, and yet, might be overlooked. His 2017 piece, “Churaki Hill,” for example, pays homage to Churaki, an Aboriginal man who was responsible for many successful water rescues in the Tweed region in the early 1900s.[…]
“Intension” (2011), three-channel digital projection, existing monument, trees, from Ten Days on the Island, Franklin Square, Hobart, Australia
Continue reading: In Craig Walsh’s ‘Monuments,’ Enormous Projected Portraits Illuminate the Selective Histories of Public Art