The past, the present , and the future walk into a was tense 2017

Silkstone Shopping village - Blackstone road - Ipswich - Queensland

The past, the present, and the future walk into a was tense.


bronze, stainless steel, timber

Exchange lies at the heart of human interaction; whether it be personal, communal, educational or commercial, our ability to communicate and share ideas is fundamental to our success as a species. Humans are not the sole possessors of this ability, however, the numerous and various techniques for exchanging ideas that we have developed is truly remarkable. Some of these tools for exchange humans possess would seem to be inherent to our nature, but many require the development of very specialised skills.

For this reason, it has become necessary for us to be schooled and taught. Those who have knowledge of these special techniques pass this knowledge on to those who wish to receive it. The site of the new Silkstone Shopping Centre and adjacent residential development was, until very recently, an epicentre of this very special human activity of exchanging ideas. It was a school. For over 50 years, young women and men attended the Bremmer State High School, their purpose for being there (whether they were consciously aware of it or not) to engage in the exchange of ideas with teachers and with each other.

The past the present and the future walk into a bar…it was tense The title of this artwork is intended to be both humorous and poignant. It is a joke, a play on words but it also alludes to a tension that is ever present; the shifting dynamics between how things were, how they are now and how they might be in the future. This site was once a school but it is no longer, soon it will become a meeting place for a broader spectrum of the community, a place for relaxed exchange, both social and commercial. In the future…who knows. Almost nothing in this world remains fixed for long, change is constant and a necessity of life, however, there are some things that remain relatively immutable. A few symbols of written language fall into this category. In conceiving this artwork I have chosen to consider how some of these 2-dimensional symbols might be realised in 3-dimensions. The 4 symbols I have chosen are considered to be almost universal. They have been in use for so long and their use is so widely spread throughout the world that providing a definitive answer to their place of original is next too impossible. These special figures are a key to understanding how a sustained exchange of ideas is possible and how occasionally something manages to transcend the barriers of the past the present and the future.

The variety of materials that have been chosen to realise the forms that make up this artwork are a reference to the exchange of technical skills that took place at the Bremmer State High School. The scale and robustness of these forms allows for them to not simply be enjoyed as abstract form but allows them to be ‘used’ and encourages those who encounter them to stop, take a breath and have a chat. As with the title of this work, the physical artworks are also meant to be both humorous and poignant; there is a conceptual framework informing this work but the forms are also intended to be playful, curious and whimsical.

Commissioner - Citymark Properties/Ipswich City Council

Curator - Urban Art Projects

Fabricator - Urban Art Projects

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