Brad Harkin’s sound-based installation work, Cultural Precinct, is currently showing at Art Pod. It’s a site-specific work taking into consideration the unique high profile, high-traffic art space at the bottom of the Adelaide City Council building on Pirie Street.
“I looked at the space and thought about where it’s located in the city,” Harkin says. “What buildings it’s attached to, what that means, how I can evolve the work and adapt the work to that space.” While it’s a new work, Cultural Precinct is linked to a previous exhibition, Palm Valley. Located in the West MacDonnell Ranges in the Northern Territory, Palm Valley is the only location where red cabbage palms (Livistona mariae) survive. However, through research by Professor David Bowman, it was determined that it’s actually the same species as Livistona rigida, found some 1000 kilometres away (they were separated 15,000 years ago). Local Aboriginal stories corroborate these findings. “The whole idea of the Palm Valley work is based around these two different modes of knowledge and ways of thinking coming together independently,” Harkin says. Harkin is looking at the idea that this knowledge has always been there but he is looking at the disruption of this knowledge, particularly in this new work, Cultural Precinct. “Those stories must have been passed down through hundreds of generations of people to remain intact,” he says. “There is a real kind of consistency that is required for that kind of knowledge transfer. When you start introducing things like settlement and colonisation, you are talking about a huge disruption of culture and knowledge. There is a direct relationship between the concept of the exhibition and those ideas.” Brad Harkin: Cultural Precinct Art Pod, Pirie Street Until Friday, August 19 adelaidecitycouncil.com Photos: Jessica Clark