Image: To the fallen trees… community performance (2022) Tammy Wong Hulbert, Marnie Badham, George Akl and Ai Yamamoto with community at One Tree Hill; photo by George Akl

Invisible Winds

Artist Talk

Join artists Pia Johnson, Philip Samartzis, Tammy Wong Hulbert, Marnie Badham and co-curator Madeleine Sherburn for a discussion about physical and emotional attachments to wilderness and to place through socially engaged creative projects.

When: Saturday 6 May 2023, 2pm – 4pm.

Where: CLIMARTE Gallery, 120 Bridge Road, Richmond.

About the Speakers and their Art:
Pia Johnson is a photographer and visual artist, whose practice engages with themes of migration, mobility and identity, across time and place.

‘The Weight of Fallen Trees’ is a series of work that addresses the climate crisis through photographing a series of trees that fell during the June 2021 Victorian storms. As The Age reported, it was ‘like hell on earth: the night the trees fell from the sky’ (Cowie, 2021). Trees develop root systems to withstand winds from typical directions, yet what occurred in the storms, were winds from atypical directions leading to them to be uprooted or ‘windthrown’. This was a prediction about climate change made by arboriculture experts over 30 years ago coming to fruition.

Philip Samartzis is a Melbourne based sound artist with a specific interest in the social and environmental conditions informing remote wilderness regions and their communities.

‘Perpetual Motion’ is composed of sound recordings of windfarms located in the Province of Benevento in Southern Italy. The region is notable for its dense implementation of wind turbine technology, which broadly populates the dry, sparse landscape. Wind is particularly strong here, making it an ideal location for wind-based energy suppliers. Turbines of assorted types and sizes are compressed into each crest, curve, and fold of the bleached topography. Staggered between rows of tall white columns are generators, substations, anemometers, restraining cables, and security fencing. Amid the structures are agricultural producers and their networks of fields, crops, vehicles, farmhouses, and livestock. Small communities and townships randomly populate the landscape, often sitting precariously atop stark, rocky outcrops. The omnipresence of electrical current swallows’ insect and bird song, while spinning elongated blades cast long shadows across the billowing countryside. ‘Perpetual Motion’ is an expression of the forces, materials, and technologies shaping the rural ecology of Benevento, and the impact on the communities who must coexist with them.

Tammy Wong Hulbert and Marnie Badham are artist-researchers who together examine emotional attachment to public space through socially engaged art making.

Taking the material wreckage of the unexpected Victorian windstorms of 2021 as its starting point, ‘To the fallen trees…’ was a public and performative artwork with collaboration from local community members, photographer George Akl and sound artist Ai Yamamoto. ‘To the fallen trees…’ explored eco-anxiety through affective engagement where dozens of tall, almost centurion Eucalyptus trees dramatically fell. Creative engagement with residents, artists, and writers at the site of One Tree Hill created shared space and responsive connection to place. The public reading of personal letters drew attention to ecological loss and held space for collective memory while activating social care. Letters were written and performed by locals Liz Millman, Lia Hills, Cameron Semmens, Richard and Katelin Farnsworth, Leslie Almberg, Julie Tipene O’Toole, Marian Spires, and Emmet Wong Hulbert.


All welcome, no bookings required.