Artbox / Wimmera Artists-in-Residence Program
Artbox was engaged by Monash University’s Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (MADA) to pilot a new Artists-in-Residence Program to take place within the Western Victorian regional towns of Hopetoun and Warracknabeal.
Three artists, Brett Leavy, Kim Munro and Archie Barry were supported to explore the natural and built landscapes of the Wimmera Mallee region, for an intensive pilot residency program in a partnership between Artbox, MADA, Working Heritage and Yarriambiack Shire Council.
The residency program piloted a new model of regional creative exchange, offering artists to explore working in Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and digital media in a new environment. The form of a two-week intensive on-site residency followed by a supported remote development period and a return-trip for the presentation of works – embedding a reciprocal exchange between artists and communities.
During their February residency at the Warracknabeal Courthouse and Powerhouse in Hopetoun, the artists met with local community members and groups, presented workshops, visited the historical society, schools and landmarks, spent time on Wotjobaluk Country and hearing stories from Uncle Ron Marks, and got out on the road with their cameras filming and documenting the unique landscape and environment of the Wimmera Mallee region.
The pilot culminated in an open community showcase, Future Histories, where Artists Kim Munro and Brett Leavy were able to show community members their recently developed works. Future Histories developed from both artists shared interested in how history and the stories we tell about a place shape our present and our futures.
Virtual Songlines A Virtual Reality (VR) experience of ancient Warracknabeal, Hopetoun and Horsham created by Brett Leavy and his Brisbane studio Bilbie XR Labs. Scenes from Brett’s Virtual Songlines takes us back in time to see a version of the Wimmera in the pre-colonial age, when Aboriginal custom and lore was the way of life. Put on a VR headset and move through this ancient world just like a video game – you will go hunting, fishing, camping, and collect essential tools and knowledge to ensure your survival.
The Futorical Society (and the woman who killed the weeds) A digital short film made by Kim Munro with interviews and objects contributed by local workshop participants. Kim’s short film installation The Futorical Society (and the woman who killed the weeds) brings together 3D scans of treasured and curious objects with audio interviews and landscape filming recorded in local workshops. The film also celebrates the story of Vera Molnar, a scientist who discovered how to eradicate noxious weeds in the 1960s-70s, saving the Mallee grain industry.