Glass Bottles containing oils, resins, varnishes, seeds, leaves & bark, made by the Technological Museum, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1900-1940

Critiquing Historical Collections through Contemporary Commissions

Duration: 45 minutes
29 September 2021, 11–11:45am Webinar

Eucalyptusdom reckons with our cultural history and ever-changing relationship with the gum tree, presenting over 500 objects from the Powerhouse Collection alongside 17 newly commissioned works by creative practitioners working across the fields of design, architecture, film, applied arts and performance.

In this webinar you will hear from curator, Sarah Rees, and Yasmin Smith, one of the creative practitioners commissioned to present new work alongside the historical collection. Sarah and Yasmin will discuss the commissioning process from the expressions of interest phase through to installation, including the short timeframe and resources, support and research required to create this work. They will also examine how contemporary commissions can complement and critique existing colonial collections to create a dialogue that, in this instance, investigates the realm of eucalypts through the complexity of place, arts, science and cultural heritage.

The 30-minute online talk will be followed by a Q & A session.

Sarah Rees is a Powerhouse Curator whose inquiry is currently focused on curatorial modes for interdisciplinary practice. She also has a keen interest in architecture. Rees completed a Master of Art Curating at the University of Sydney in 2016. She has worked across multi arts projects for leading cultural institutions and was the inaugural Curator, Contemporary Art at Sydney Opera House. In 2020, Rees joined MAAS as curator for Eucalyptusdom.

Yasmin Smith makes archaeological ceramics installations that explore the chemistry of glaze techniques. She makes her glazes from organic and inorganic material found on site with elements of the clay body sometimes also locally excavated as part of her process. Using her ongoing methodology of producing site-derived installations that explore place, Smith’s commission for Eucalyptusdom examines and interprets the Powerhouse’s eucalypt plantation at Castle Hill (planted in the 1940’s as an experiment in the production of essential oils for Australians economic botany industry).

This webinar is part of the Powerhouse Museum’s 2021 Regional Public Program, a series of in-person and online events designed to support museums, galleries and tertiary institutions in regional New South Wales. Interested members of the public are welcome to register, however please note that the content will be targeted at people already working or studying in the museums field.

Free, bookings essential. A link will be emailed following registration.