Transparency and other worries
05 May–02 June 201805 May–02 Jun 2018
Historical and contemporary depictions of the Australian landscape are a core interest of Lu Forsberg’s practice. Transparency and other worries engages with the landscape of central and north Queensland: home to rugged bushland, cattle stations, the Great Barrier Reef, and the proposed Carmichael Coal Mine. Another central focus of Forsberg’s work is access: access to information, access to physical sites, and social access. Their work often employs online mapping as a way to gain admission to geographies beyond the artist’s reach. This project presents the limitations, as well as the possibilities, of technological access. The artist combines footage from online mapping with their own first-hand observations to help make sense of something typically seen from a mediated or detached viewpoint.
Concentrating on Adani’s proposed Carmichael Coal Mine and affiliated projects, Transparency and other worries probes our distanced relationship to mining. This enormous mine spans Moray Downs cattle station in central Queensland, Doongmabulla Springs (an artesian springs complex in the central highlands), and the traditional land of the Wangan and Jagalingou peoples. It is also home to the endangered southern black throated finch. In search of this elusive bird, Forsberg recently visited Bowen, Moranbah, Clermont, Moray Downs, and Townsville. Transparency and other worries offers transparency on the impact of mining across environmental, social, and economic systems.
If it proceeds, the Carmichael Coal Mine would be the biggest mine built in Australia—one of the largest mines in the world—and the catalyst for a number of infrastructure plans in north Queensland. The Carmichael Rail project, for example, will connect the 189kms between the mine site and Moranbah, and the North Galilee Basin Rail Project will stretch the 310kms from the mine to the Port of Abbot Point. The increased traffic of coal will also instigate the Abbot Point Coal Terminal Expansion and Abbot Point Growth Gateway Project, which will directly impact the Great Barrier Reef. The key selling point of these transport projects is that they provide access to parts of Australia that are otherwise cut off from the benefits of regional development, leading to jobs and economic growth. Forsberg explores the complex narratives that surround this project, and the lands and lives that it affects. Combining ground footage and imagery from geo-browser maps, the exhibition takes viewers on a tour of implicated Queensland landscapes and communities.
- Jenna Baldock