The sand of Sunshine Coast beaches is used as the canvas for some beautiful art in Transience, a short film shown as part of Horizon Festival's final month in 2020.
Created by Glen Manning and Kathy Daly (Manning Daly Art), the work is thematically a response to COVID-19 and climate change. Massive, ephemeral drawings of microscopic phytoplankton will be etched into the sand and augmented by performer Reina Takeuchi.
All of this will be captured by local filmmaker Fisch Rasy. Audiences will be able to see the sand inscriptions unfold, before they're inevitably swept away by the tide at Coolum's First Bay.
Here, Glen Manning and Kathy Daly talk about Transience. First of all, what is it like to be involved with Horizon Festival on the Sunshine Coast?
The Horizon audience loves seeing something that is unique and engaging about where they live, our art event Transience is about expanding the unseen and overlooked and re-presenting our observations in new and engaging ways. It’s so important for artists to have the opportunity to showcase what they do in a supportive environment such as the Horizon Arts Festival. The festival team are responsive to a lot of different artistic requirements and challenges such as presenting artists’ work to be accessible digitally within the present social distancing situation. Why do you think Transience belongs within Horizon Festival?
Transience talks about who we are and what we are doing on this planet. It talks about our capacity to learn and change through knowledge about our environment. The multidisciplinary art connects with local landscape and draws our attention to microscopic marine phytoplankton that influences every aspect of our lives, from the oxygen we breathe to the fuel we put in our cars. Phytoplankton is present in the water we swim in and the beaches we walk upon – there are hundreds of thousands per tablespoon of ocean water. Manning Daly has been a part of Horizon Festival before. What, in your opinion, makes this festival such an accurate reflection of the Sunshine Coast?
We see art as integral to community and culture.
There is a wealth of experienced and emerging creative talent on the Sunshine Coast, the successful evolution of a festival like Horizon Arts Festival is ultimately dependant on recognising and using that talent. How did Manning Daly begin? What was its main goal?
Since the 1990s our work has focused on extending the imaginative scope and significance of art in public spaces, by connecting people and places, making art that is meaningful and inspiring.
The potential of art to open up new perspectives for the viewer and draw attention to the importance of the natural environment and landscape drives our work. This involves research and consultation with communities, an awareness of habitats and ecosystems, history of place and the transformation of a place through the passage of time.
Image © Ben Vos Productions
Do you think you have achieved this goal/you are well on your way to doing so?
Every art project we produce expands our knowledge about the way people interrelate with the spaces they inhabit. Our extensive experience explores the way we intersect with and interact with natural and built landscapes and the way art is integral to the creation of meaningful spaces. Transience has a lot to do with the environment. What's it like to work outdoors for this kind of thing?
Transience is thinking about how we frame our lives within a global context, I suppose the work is about perspective, how little things can have a big impact, such as the coronavirus or microscopic phytoplankton. Using the coastal landscape as our canvas creates space for the juxtaposition of the large scale drawings with our solo performer.
By expanding the unseen, the microscopic, and recontextualising how we relate to what we don’t see, we hope to open up a conversation about interconnectedness. Manning Daly Art is all about art in public/outdoor spaces. What do you think is the main reason why art should be accessible to all in this way?
Throughout human history art has been publicly accessible. Art, culture, creative expression is integral to human existence; art is where we try to make sense of who we are and where we are going. What better place to have a conversation about the different perspectives that artists bring to our collective narrative than in the public sphere? Someone has just experienced Transience and is reacting in the exact way you intended them to. What is that intended reaction?
The great thing about our art is that everyone experiences it in their own way. That might be on a purely visual level or they may explore the work further, revealing the multilayered meaning within the work.
Due to the present restrictions for public gathering the viewer may only see a film version of the work, different perspectives and layers will be revealed and documented through this process.
For Kathy and I, creating this innovative multidisciplinary work Transience, that includes emerging artists in performance and filmmaking, is an incredible opportunity which is what the Horizon Arts Festival is all about.
Transience will be shown on the Horizon Festival website on 26 August.