Georgia Wallace-Crabbe: The Earth and the Elements
- When 19 Aug - 5 Nov 2016
Cnr Oxford St & Greens Rd Paddington NSW 2021
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The Earth and the Elements is an immersive five-channel film installation from Georgia Wallace-Crabbe that uses the Chinese philosophy of Daoism as a metaphoric frame to explore ecological issues arising from the extraction and flow of mineral resources from Australia to China. The work offers a broad view of human relationships with the natural environment, interweaving documentary footage filmed in both countries.
The Daoist circular universe is comprised of opposing forces in constant dynamic flux between two interlocking systems, Yin/Yang and Wu Xing, or the Five Elements – Wood (木 Mu), Fire (火 Huo), Earth (土 Tu), Metal (金 Jin), and Water (水 Shui). The film installation references this structure to reveal interconnectedness: coal and iron ore flow one way from Australia; in China they are transformed through combustion and production into goods that then flow back.
The symbolism of the elements resonates today: Wood is coal, Metal is iron ore and Fire is evoked by steel smelting and bush fire. Earth and Water are explored here through the impact of resource exchange on Australia’s fragile landscape.
Georgia Wallace-Crabbe is an Australian film producer and director. Her recent film, Beijing: Reinventing a City, was screened widely in environmental film festivals and was the catalyst for The Earth and the Elements.
Images: Georgia Wallace-Crabbe, The Earth and the Elements 2016. Five-channel video installation. Installation view, UNSW Galleries, 2016. Photograph: Silversalt Photography