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Finding Balance : Mura Gadi
31 Aug 2013

Finding Balance: Mura Gadi

Tracey M Benson 2013

Discovering pathways

The last twelve years have taken many twists and turns, personally, creatively and professionally.

I came to Canberra as a keen-eyed researcher and artist, interested in the social and creative implications of the www; a medium I have explored since the mid 1990s. This quest further triggered my love of communications technologies and the opportunities they represent for every day people.

The making, sharing and gathering of online material has now hit a new zenith, with the widespread proliferation of Internet enabled mobile and hand held devices. In Finding Balance : Mura Gadi, these networked tools are used to both create and interpret the artwork.

As an artist, the use of readily available, every day objects and materials has always played a role in my work, as has the landscape. The material objects that I create are often generic, constructed simply and easily transportable. It is this idea of 'transportable' objects that triggered my interest in creating Augmented Reality (AR) elements in the exhibition and publication.

Finding Balance : Mura Gadi explores the concept of balance in a number of ways. Mura Gadi translates from the Ngunnawal language as "pathways for searching" and I use these words to express my respect to one of the Aboriginal nations that have a clear connection to the beautiful country I traverse, document and grown to love. I also acknowledge the Wiradjuri, Gundungurra, Ngarigo and Yuin peoples who also have connections to these mountainous lands.

The subject of my project, the magnificent National Parks surrounding the ACT, specifically Namadgi National Park are classified as 'wilderness' areas. Although protected nature reserves now, many walking trails reveal layers of human history: discarded tracking stations, European squatters, to over 20,000 years of inhabitation by the Aboriginal nations from these regions.

The photographs were all taken with my Internet enabled mobile phone, with some later enhancements produced with free mobile application, Snapseed. The GPS tracks were also recorded using another free phone/web application, Everytrail (www.everytrail.com). The AR element of the work was created with another free application downloaded to my desktop and handheld devices, Aurasma.

These humble walks have not only been a source of rich imagery and play, they have also been a way of balancing the hectic pace of modern life. The theme of restoration is captured beautifully by conservationist Rachel Carson in this quote, located at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve as a plank in the wetlands walkway.

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”

Carson's words speak much about our human need to take a moment to contemplate and reflect on the manifest beauties of our earth, recognising that our acknowledgement of the earth gives us the strength to endure.

Many thanks to the contributors and supporters of this project - Catherine Summerhayes, Linda Carroli, Shannon Novak, the team from Belconnen Arts Centre, Martin Drury, Lukas Benson-Whittaker, Justin Fromm, Garry Benson, David Whisker, Nina Sian, Sue Walker, Garry Benson, Canberra Contemporary Art Space, and all the other fantastic people who supported me on Pozible.

Art Augmented-media Environment Mura-Gadi Namadgi photography publication Sustainability Transmedia video
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