beginning in incompleteness: works in formation 2015

site responsive, durational intervention as part of the exhibition ‘beginning in incompleteness:works in formation 2015’ at Project Space // Spare Room, RMIT University, Melbourne.


beginning in incompleteness: works in formation

beginning in incompleteness: works in formation brings together four artists from RMIT’s Interior Design and Landscape Architecture programs whose works are concerned with the spatial and temporal qualities of a site. Over an exhibition period of four weeks, the artists will respond to different aspects of Project Space, drawing attention to the site’s spatial, temporal and immaterial qualities.

The exhibition will begin with four initial responses to the site (see ‘gestures’ listed below), which relate to each artist’s current PhD research. Thereafter, the exhibition will unfold as a schedule of both set and non-predetermined events and actions, with Project Space acting as a stage for these interplays to occur. beginning in incompleteness refuses the idea of the exhibition as end point; instead of a resolved and conclusive composition, the exhibition will change over the four weeks as the artists respond to the conditions of the site and the modifications made by each other.

The title – beginning in incompleteness – gives insight into the process-based, ever-changing nature of the exhibition, whose works will always be ‘in formation’ and subject to change. The exhibition will therefore be continually in the middle, resisting attempts to be fixed in a final state. The artists are interested in this quality of being ‘in the midst’, positioning themselves within and remaining sensitive to the changing field of spatial, temporal and cultural relations. Each artist draws attention to the shifting conditions of the site or creates processes that render visible qualities of the site that are usually unseen or unnoticed.

beginning in incompleteness: works in formation gives an insight into the practice-based research being undertaken by four PhD Candidates in RMIT’s School of Architecture and Design. James Carey and Phoebe Welman Whitman are from the discipline of Interior Design and Louisa King and Saskia Schut are from Landscape Architecture. For these candidates, the exhibition itself constitutes a live research process; by being incomplete, the works are subject to change and open to new research. The exhibition is a process-based exploration that will manifest different iterations of each candidate’s practice-based design research.


The exhibition comprises five ‘gestures’ that respond to the site of Project Space:

Gesture 1: Using the gallery as material, James Carey will sand the southern gallery wall, leaving the paint dust to collect on the floor. This ‘prepared wall’ will then become a site for experimentation throughout the exhibition – a space for mappings and renderings, including drawing, painting, further sanding, photography and film. Carey will also reuse the collected dust to cast artifacts of the other artists’ works and the cracks, holes and recesses within the gallery floor. James Carey is currently undertaking a PhD in the Interior Design program titled rendering the [im]material.

Gesture 2: Louisa King will mine geologic material from the area surrounding Project Space. This material, comprising 50% Silurian siltstone and 50% sandy mudstone, will then be processed and used to make a line through the gallery that traces the underlying geologic boundary beneath the gallery floor. A magnetic object will be hung from the roof that is able to register the anticline and syncline underneath the floor, thus making visible the fold of stratified rock usually hidden far beneath the gallery floor. Louisa King is currently undertaking a PhD in the Landscape Architecture program titled Unearthing deep time: somewhere between the theory and the making.

Gesture 3: Phoebe Welman Whitman’s works focus on the ever-changing surfaces present within the site. Whitman will arrange (and rearrange) materials in the site that act as ‘responsive surfaces’ and use photography to document and explore how light ‘performs’ a surface. She envisages the gallery as a tableau for these surfaces to come together, arranged according to their materialities and the conditions of light. Phoebe Welman Whitman is currently undertaking a PhD in the Interior Design program titled Surface encounter.

Gesture 4: Saskia Schut’s interventions make the atmosphere visible. Using glass, silver and soil, Schut will set up events that draw attention to the physical processes occurring at the site, such as accumulation (dust), evaporation (water), bending (light), catching (air), and falling (gravity). Saskia Schut is currently undertaking a PhD in the Landscape Architecture program titled Ungrounding (the landscape): opening out and into the aerial.

Gesture 5: Catalogue-in-formation
At the opening of the exhibition, the works will only be one-quarter complete and so, as the exhibition continues and the works change, Spare Room, the smaller gallery space, will become the site for a ‘working publication’ or ‘catalogue-in-formation’. Here, the artists will contribute texts and images, gathering together documentation from the actions and events to create a spatial catalogue. Part of the research behind the exhibition is a consideration of the potentials when interior and landscape practices are intermingled. The catalogue-in-formation will explore new collaborative dialogues for interior and landscape practices, seeking new possibilities for both disciplines arising from open, embodied and sensitive approaches to spatial practice.

catalogue text by Phip Murray
History/Theory Coordinator, Interior Design, RMIT

Please join us for a series of conversations-in-formation held each Thursday throughout the exhibition. Each artist has invited a panel of guests to discuss ideas extending out of the exhibition. Conversations to be facilitated by Phip Murray, History/Theory Coordinator, Interior Design.

6pm – 7pm, Thursday 22 October
James Carey discussing ideas around ‘documentation’ with artist Bridie Lunney and Assoc Professor Suzie Attiwill, Interior Design; Deputy Dean Learning & Teaching (RMIT School of Architecture and Design).

6pm – 7pm, Thursday 29 October:
Louisa King discussing ideas related to ‘mapping’ with Landscape Architecture Lecturers, Kate Church and Jock Gilbert (RMIT School of Architecture and Design).

6pm – 7pm, Thursday 5 November:
Phoebe Welman Whitman discussing ideas connected to ‘encounter’ with Associate Professor Suzie Attiwill, Interior Design; Deputy Dean Learning & Teaching (RMIT School of Architecture and Design) and David Thomas, Professor of Fine Art (RMIT School of Art).

6pm – 7pm, Thursday 12 November:
Saskia Schut discussing ideas around ‘ungrounding’ with artists Scott Mitchell and Geoff Robinson.


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