The Santos Museum of Economic Botany at the Adelaide Botanic Garden, South Australia, is, in the words of Peter Emmett the historian/curator/writer who oversaw its 2009 revitalisation, “…another realm – a theatre of High Victorian ornamentation in the Greek-revival style… layered with substances, specimens and crafted objects.”
This “crowded tableaux” is a wondrous place, a unique museum experience and the last Museum of Economic Botany anywhere in the world that presents its original 19th century collections in its original purpose-built architecture.
If you’re ever in Adelaide, it’s well worth visiting…
As part of a strong multi-disciplinary team, I worked with Peter on the 2009 project to create various media elements and write for the souvenir publication. In 2014, the Museum’s director Tony Kanellos invited me to produce a contemplative soundscape for the space. The hour long series of tracks, constructed from field recordings made throughout the Garden, commenced playback in March 2014.
A sample track can be heard here…
In October 2013, I shot and edited a video showing the museum’s interior spaces.
The extraordinary ‘cabinet of curiosities’ is a specially commissioned permanent installation artwork, titled ‘Grove’, by artist Fiona Hall. I worked with Fiona to create the video element for Grove, derived from footage she shot in Sri Lanka of traditional tree-felling and wood-cutting. When a visitor approaches the installation, a motion sensor starts replay of the video. Its sound is delivered through a large tile of hardwood fixed in front of the screen.
gary warner 2014