Seaweed Arboretum


Seaweed Arboretum

Seaweed Arboretum is a suite of 3 installations, exhibited at the Manly Art Gallery & Museum. The exhibition was held in conjunction with the Seaweed Forests Festival, and provided an evocative and immersive marine botanical environment for the month-long program of talks, workshops and events.

The installations, Forest, Flora and Float, draw upon the seaweed forests of Australia’s Great Southern Reef. Forest is an aerial canopy of giant bull kelp sourced from the Southern Ocean; Flora is a series of pressed seaweeds collected from the shores of the eastern and southern coasts; and Float suspends seaweeds gathered from Sydney beaches - viewed against the backdrop of their ocean home immediately beyond the gallery.

The installations honour and celebrate the inherent nature and integrity of the plants themselves. Throughout the process of collecting, sculpting, and installing the works, the seaweeds exerted a defining and determining influence. The installations are, in essence, the expression of a collaboration between artists and marine plant-life.

The poetics of this intra-nature dialogue imbued the festival program. Talks, discussions and workshops were held beneath and within the installations - and explored our interconnected relationship with seaweed through the manifestations of science and climate change; Indigenous culture and knowledge; food and health; art, dance and music.

The exhibition and festival developed out of a long-term collaboration with marine ecologist, Dr Adriana Verges, Associate Professor at the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, UNSW, and the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (see Operation Crayweed Art Work Site). Artists and scientists are inherently curious and creative, and many share a deep connection to the natural world. Art and science offer different expressions of this connection, that can be both complementary and expansive when combined. In sharing scientific research within these poetic and sensory art environments, seemingly separate systems of knowing are cross-fertilised to foster a more open and receptive understanding for all.

This project was supported by NSW Government My Community Grant and Australian Kelp Products

Manly Art Gallery & Museum, Sydney, Australia
seaweed, aluminium, acrylic, nylon line, teflon line, kinetic lights
3 installations - various

Seaweed Forests Festival team:
Professor Martina Doblin, Professor Peter Steinberg, Catherine Maher, Leah Wood, Mark Scognamiglio - Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS)
Associate Prof. Dr Adriana Verge - UNSW & SIMS
Dr Ezequiel ‘Ziggy’ Marzinelli - USYD & SIMS
Michaelie Crawford, Jennifer Turpin - Turpin Crawford Studio
Clare Sawyer - Event Production
Sophie Raymond - Sophat Podcast Productions
Dorset Sutton - Lim Sutton Foundation
Costa Georgiadis - ABC
Katherine Roberts, Ross Heathcote, Michael Hedger - Manly Art Gallery & Museum

Seaweed Forests Festival moderators, panellists and performers:
Costa Georgiadis, Wendy Harmer - ABC presenters
Stephen Oliver, ABC manager documentaries
Karen Smith, Robert Cooley, Sarah Thomas & Uncle Ken Jones - First Nations knowledge holders
Prof. Tim Flannery, Prof. Peter Ralph, Assoc Prof. Dr Adriana Verges, Dr Alex Campbell, Dr Ziggy Marzinelli, Dr Melanie Bishop & Sahira Bell - marine ecologists and climate scientists
Stefan Andrews - educator
Dr Libby Swanepoel - nutritionist
Zoe Brittain - environmental anthropoligist
Mark Olive & Gary Fishwick - chefs
Dr Pia Windberg, Sam Elsom, Oscar McMahon, Jo Lane & Sarah Thomas- seaweed entrepreneurs
Dr Shane Gould & Dorset Sutton-environmnetal supporters
Jennifer Turpin, Michaelie Crawford & Julie Ryder - artists
James Brew & Ivan Zhang - musicians
Kate Dunn - choreographer, Jasmin Lancaster, Emma Grill - dancers, Alistair Trung - costume designer, Louie Royal - lighting designer


Seaweed Arboretum production team, consultants & advisors:
Michaelie Crawford & Jennifer Turpin - artists
Natalie O’Loughlin - production assistant
Louie Royal - lighting design & production assistant
Rupert Trengove. - production assistant
Chanel Tobler - production assistant
Hugh Black - production assistant
Ian Hobbs - Ian Hobbs Media, photography & videography
Dr Yola Metti - phycologist, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
Derek Cruz - marine scientist, UNSW
Tess Evans - Heights Heritage Conservation
Jisuk Han & Haimeng Zhao - X Squared Design
Mike Harrington & Stefan Kovar - Definitive Group
Philip Sticklen - Bespoke House
Damian Ferrari & Michael Sheehy, Reinaldo Puentes Tucki, Isabella Puentes Tucki, Jeremy Sparks - Event Engineering

photo and video credits

Ian Hobbs Media

media and downloads