Two party hats
Party hats from the 'Crossing the Ice' Antarctic expedition (2011–12), Powerhouse Collection.

Dr Ainslie Murray

The Powerhouse Research Fellowship

March 2020

Project Title: In Pursuit of the Minimum: How Camp and Expedition Philosophy, Technology and Process can Teach us How to Live.

Ainslie Murray
Image: Ainslie Murray, supplied.

This research project will draw on materials from the museum’s collection related to expedition camps in extreme environments, from early European explorers in Australia to the ‘Crossing the Ice’ Antarctic expedition in 2011–12.

Attitudes to temporary inhabitation and/or survival that are evident in these collections reveal aspects of philosophies, technologies and processes that are pertinent to ‘sustainable living’. Through the project, the collections will be examined in detail and re-organised as a selective series of radical propositions that are playful, intriguing and provocative. These propositions will be developed with a small user group (including Powerhouse staff) and presented via a public lecture and research paper for publication.

Dr Ainslie Murray is a Senior Lecturer Architecture (tenured) in the Faculty of the Built Environment at UNSW, Sydney. She is an interdisciplinary artist and academic, who holds a PhD in Visual Arts and Bachelor degrees in Architecture and Architectural Studies.

Murray’s research background is in practice-led art and architecture, with a focus on forms of architecture and space-making that often escape attention in mainstream discourse, including ephemeral, minimal and immaterial forms of architecture. Her work investigates these forms of architecture in relation to sustainable living (climate, atmosphere, air quality, air density, wind, global warming), performance (walking, climbing, expedition, secular and religious pilgrimage), material (ephemeral, inflatable, portable and spontaneous structures), motion (movement as design methodology), and notation (motion-capture, gestural art-making, choreographic notation).

Current research projects include Vertical Camp, a major participatory public art commission for the City of Sydney’s Art & About program at the Sydney Opera House forecourt (2018-2021), and Aqueous Landscapes, with Helen Lochhead, a major curated exhibition about contemporary landscapes of the Sydney Harbour foreshore, due to be shown at the Venice Design Biennial in 2021.

More information about Murray’s art practice and research can be found on her website and UNSW research profile.