Touchstones is a public artwork commisioned by the City of Casey which is situated in the North Clyde Community Centre plaza. The artwork appears as a small outcrop of standing stones emerging from the plaza adjacent to the entrance of the Community Centre. Concealed beneath this rock formation is an electronic infrastructure, enabling a range of evolving and open ended interactions between matter, environment, and people.
The design process for the artwork, began with the consideration of memory in relation to Selandra Rise, a newly developed suburb on the outer fringe of Melbourne. In many ways the new suburb is a ‘tabula rasa’, a site which has had its ‘spatial memory’ deleted by the impact of new developments. The idea of an ‘artwork that remembers’ sought to take an active part in the establishment of the new community by gently absorbing and acreting the gestures of the population over time.
The connection between memory and place was manifest by an embedded interactive system that uses technology to interweave community interaction with spatial and temporal expression. The artwork expresses itself through a system which integrates sound and vibration emanating from the ground plane. These vibrational and acoustic events are triggered through the public’s interaction with a basalt sculptural elements which is inlaid with aluminium sensing strips. These personal interactions and the immediate responses of the artwork are recorded by the digital system and are stored in its burgeoning memory.
At dawn and dusk the artwork remembers the human interactions of the day and combines them into a celebratory composition of sound, vibration and light, creating unique affective spatial atmospheres each day within the forecourt of the community centre.
DESIGN TEAM: Dr Jordan Lacey (Lead CI and Sound Artist), Chuan Khoo (Interaction Designer), Charles Anderson (Landscape Architect), Ross McLeod (Design Detail)