Craig Walsh


The Pier Southport Parklands, Gold Coast , Australia, 2010



This permanent public artwork represented an opportunity to further develop a unique projection application in relation to specific bodies of water. Whilst it has it’s origins in the permanent work in the Ipswich river, the form, application, presence and relationship to this environment makes this incarnation very different and represents a major evolution in all aspects of the installation.
The work is partially inspired by my interest in the history of ‘creature sightings’ documented and discussed throughout the world (loch ness monster, Tacoma sea serpent, Storsie, Megofeice and the Hawkesbury river monster).  Also inspired by recent appearances of known species in densely populated urban river systems and harbors e.g.; Whales appearance in the Brisbane river and Sydney Harbor. Specifically, these events and sightings provided the source to consider how I might generate an artwork specific to the location with the ability to stimulate interest and speculation about what might exists in the unknown depths of the waterway. Further to this is an interest in how mythology and stories are generated through a specific community about a particular location. The proposed work incorporates these ideas through the generation of an undocumented hybrid organism residing in and around the pier and the local communities expected response to this new resident.
The overriding objective of this installation was to create an illusionary work, which integrated into the existing environment whilst providing a long term narrative and potential for an ongoing relationship between the artwork and the community. The formal objectives of this permanent installation are to create a spatial illusion, in which the use of high-end 3D graphics, algorithmic software and moving head projection technologies interact with the natural environment to fabricate a new local life form. The ability to integrate these technologies within the constantly evolving water system provides a unique opportunity to blur the distinction and question perceptions of reality.
The ongoing visitation of this new found nocturnal creatures to this pier precinct will over time establish a relationship with the local public as they witness not only its existence but its evolution including mating rituals and production of offspring. As this creature exists only in this specific location, the work also stimulates a sense of ownership, intimacy, pride and uniqueness for that community. It is also a direct objective to provoke discussion within the community about important concepts and issues, which affect the current human condition. These could include, the affects artificial life forms may have on our condition and future evolution and how technology may influence our perception of reality.
The sighting of these new organisms corresponds with the reacquantence of the Southport residents and visiting community with this waterway through the new development of the parklands. The Broadwater parklands development provides an opportunity for the Southport community to reestablish a relationship with the Broadwater and through viewing/leisure spaces now provided, specifically the pier. This artwork celebrates this change and the changes in the overall quality of the Broadwater system through the emergence of a new life form. This type of work occupying the Broadwater links to the unexpected yet magical experiences provided through so many aspects of the Gold Coast .The number of visitors, locals and in general a very active communityhas lead to a long term, ongoing experience with this work.