Swinburne graduates have produced a collection of creative works inspired by their experience of, and reflections on, the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne.
The exhibition, Archipelago, featured work by Bachelor of Design graduates who majored in photomedia and was curated by senior lecturer in communication design and photomedia, Dr Samantha Edwards-Vandenhoek, and lecturer in communication design Joanna Gardener. Part of Melbourne Design Week, which was held from 26 March – 5 April, Archipelago showcased the new media works by Swinburne’s emerging photographers, designers and visual artists.
Footage of ‘Deeper than thirst’ by Swinburne graduate Alysha Magro, which was a highlight of the Archipelago exhibition.
Archipelago was formed from a rich collection of images, film, sound, projection and installation art. The works can still be seen on the website, designed to appear like floating islands to represent the suburbs the artists were living in at the time of lockdown.
Visual storytelling became a mechanism for knowledge production and sharing. It was a therapeutic and communicative practice for graduates who were able to capture and convey their lived experiences of lockdown to a wider audience.
‘Solace’ by Gertie Hall featured in Archipelago. Gertie has a passion for multimedia imagery, digital projection and branding for self-directed exhibitions. She was art director of the exhibition.
“Despite being in forced isolation, the School of Design graduates demonstrated how malleable a community can be through their personal reflections and visual storytelling as narrative intervention,” says curator Dr Edwards-Vandenhoek.
“In a world where human connection and wellness is impacted by an increasing reliance on digital technologies, artificial connectivity and separation from the natural realm, Archipelago serves as a reminder of what separated and distant individuals can achieve together for the long-term benefit of community and environment.”
‘Wax’ by Charles Woolley was part of the Archipelago exhibition. Charles is an experimental photographer, image maker and designer.
“The lockdown provided students with the opportunity to reimagine their relationship to their physical and natural environment. As a consequence, some of the projects focused on the beauty in the everyday encounter, environmental sustainability, caring for the land, local parks, neighbours, and mental health,” Dr Edwards-Vandenhoek explains.
Archipelago encouraged visitors to reimagine the concept of human community and land stewardship through deepening understandings of the relationships people have with themselves within the natural realm.
The exhibition was proudly supported by Melbourne Design Week, Swinburne’s School of Design, Adobe, Momento Pro and The Australian Institute of Professional Photography.