Skip to main content

Your free what's on guide to the NT

Art & About: Botanicals

Trans-disciplinary artist Matthew van Roden presents Botanicals as part of DF20 Homegrown – a video installation set to light up various part of town, curated by ACCOMPLICE’S Britt Guy. OTL caught up with Matthew for a chat.

Tell us everything we need to know about Botanicals!

Botanicals is a series of new projection works that I have created to be discovered around Darwin over six nights of the Festival. They are carefully choreographed flesh-flowers, that blossom and bloom in unexpected locations in the city and suburbs.

What inspired the work?

Conversations with Britt Guy, Creative Director of ACCOMPLICE, about our lives in the suburbs, and the spaces that both inspire us and connect us to this place. Also, a desire to connect in a deeper way to these spaces through creative practice, allowing space to have a materially constructive role in the creative process.

How did some of the public spaces make the cut?

There are a few water towers in the mix, iconic monoliths that set themselves in landscapes and skyscapes alike. In that way, they occupy between-spaces, which resonates with a lot of themes in my work.

When testing the projections, these beautiful towers are much more than mere surfaces – they have a voice, they make their own demands of the work. They are agents in the process of making.

Local creative producer Britt Guy is curator of Botanicals – what made you want to team up?

Britt has been experimenting with projection, so it was a natural fit with my work.

Botanicals was born out of a creative relationship, out of friendship and deep conversations about what it means to have a creative practice in this town – about what makes life liveable and about the freedom of thinking about space, art and practice in new and different ways. This is an ongoing exploration of creative interventions in a public space.

Tell us a bit about the role art has played in your life…

It’s a little more the case that I am playing a role in the life of art. My work is attuned to boundary-making practices and how they can be unmade or deconstructed.

Consequently, these interests bleed across those lines of art and life, and I’m often unsure if I’m ever fully in one space or another. I prefer it that way. However, I can say that art has allowed me to play lots of interesting roles, and Darwin has been a hotbed of opportunity, for which I am very grateful.

What is one thing you’d like people to consider when checking out Botanicals?

I think the work is enough of an imposition of my ideas. However, I would like people to be surprised by it. If you have time, sit with it a while to consider your own entanglements with this place – its spaces, its impositions, its affordances, and our role as part of its unique natural environment.


Header & thumbnail: Matthew van Roden, 'Grevillea', 2019, (installation view) wax and digital video

More reads

Advertisement: Darwin Fringe 2024