2011 - Underbelly Public Arts Lab & Festival
Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour, Australia
Case Study was a multi-media interactive art installation created by Perran Costi, Jesse Cox, Emily McDaniel, Adam Parsons, Damian Martin, Justin Harvey in collaboration over a two-week period in the Blade Room, Cockatoo Island.
The collaborative work explored ideas about how societies are created, colonialism, colonisation, migration, utopianism, as well as discussing Australia’s own response to migration, refugees, population growth, Australia’s Indigenous histories and the way white settlement and Aboriginal people have interacted.
The artists imagined the discovery of a new land, exploring what it would be like to be the first wave of settlers – free from the controlling force of a motherland. Given the chance to start over, the artists asked themselves ‘how would we set up this new society and what would we change?’
Creating a New Society
With much of the Australian public feeling disenfranchised, frustrated with governments doing little to address significant social issues, the artists saw the project as an opportunity to trial all the different things that can be done – to create a place, open to the public, where fresh perspectives can be voiced and things can be judged on merit without the influence of political alliances, corporate interests, lobby groups, media spin and electoral manipulation.
Sydney’s history of migration was also given special emphasis with Perran and his fellow artists inhabiting the island with only that which they could carry in suitcases.
Over 16 days the artists created their new world together in the Islands Blade Room, a 20 by 20 meter space in which the blades for the propellers of big ships were once made. Aside from what they brought, the artists scoured the island for resources and bartered with other Underbelly artists outside their collective.