At the inaugural exhibition of The Altitude Project: "Observatory Latitude 33° 42’ South Longitude 150° 29” East", seven contemporary artists responded to the site with four works that were situated at the intersection of art, science and cultural history at Linden Observatory. After a Smoking Ceremony and Welcome to Country by Chris Tobin, The Altitude Project was officially launched by Trish Doyle MP, NSW Member for The Blue Mountains.
Observatory Latitude 33° 42’ South Longitude 150° 29” East
Linden Observatory, Linden NSW, from 5:30pm to 10:00 pm Saturday 4th November 2017
The legacy of Ken Beames, who built all of the architecture and technology on the site, in his quest to view the night sky, Linden Observatory has a history of technological innovation, human endeavour, and night-sky watching. Our first event, “Observatory Latitude 33° 42’ South Longitude 150° 29” East”, takes its title from Ken Beames’ evocative handwritten GPS co-ordinates on the wall of the observatory.
The observatory is located on the traditional lands of the Darug and Gundungurra people and stories of Aboriginal tools found on the site give a tantalising glimpse into its pre-colonial history and underline the importance of this heritage site for the community.
Brad Allen-Waters engaged with the legacy of Beames, producing a kinetic sculpture “The Aesthetiscope,” He collaborated with sound artist Jon Drummond to produce “Lyre Lyre” inspired by a story about the Lyre birds on the site that imitated the sounds of Beames’ machinery and passed their song on for generations. Wiradjuri and Ngiyampaa artist, Graham Davis-King reactivated the indigenous relationship to the site with his Aboriginal Astronomy work “Night Sky in Summer” and Michaela Gleave, in collaboration with Warren Armstrong and Amanda Cole, presented “A Galaxy of Suns”, a soundscape that directly responded to the location of the constellations overhead. Artist, Michael Petchkovsky installed “Beacons Hither and Nigh” a work that uses networked LED light installation, a work that imagines a cluster of stars drawn near.
Event photographs by David Brazil; Video 1 - David Brazil; Video 2 - Still Image David Brazil, Sound Michaela Gleave with Amanda Cole and Warren Armstrong; Video 3 - Chris Caines; Historical Photos - Linden Observatory Trust