Quick bites from CJ Anderson and Aaron Chapman
What inspired your idea that objects can hold memories and emotion?
Having a dual practice as an artist and furniture designer I am constantly designing objects and furniture for peoples homes. This has made me think of the memories I have as a child and many are associated with materials or objects.
Growing up in a workshop I have fond memories of metals being formed by hand and machine in precision outcomes. I have taken these memories and explored what it means to me now and how my upbringing and current self can create new objects with meaning and emotion that comes from both now and the past.
Can you describe your process? Specifically, where do you search for your inspiration – for your forms and material choices?
A lot of my process is driven by manufacturing, I am constantly striving to push current manufacturing processes. The forms for this work are something I have been working on for a while they are inspired by my upbringing and are something that I frequently remember having raw materials and bends for part manufacturing around the workshop. Growing up around a metal workshop, stainless steel is a material I am quite familiar with and feel very comfortable working with.
What do you hope the audiences learn from your work?
I hope the audience gets time to sit with a memory or feeling and reflect on what that means to them and how that has had an impact on their life now.
How does it feel to be a part of the first major exhibition at the new HOTA Gallery?
I pinch myself a lot. Working with curator, Bradley Vincent and the team in a gallery of this scale is something I’m extremely grateful for. And better still, it’s just down the road from where I grew up. I wish I had more to offer here, I’m still taking it all in!
The concept of home feels like a rich subject to capture. Can you give some insights to what motivated you to explore this idea?
I’m very intrigued by the concept of home and was working on a different project that was exploring personal histories which at one point became too emotionally exhausting. I needed a break. I shifted from examining the iconographic and traditional family home and instead, began investigating the need to feel ‘at home’ within an entire ecological setting. The Gold Coast is home. This was a really vague beginning to a photographic project and I realised quite quickly that I needed a motif or narrative thread to carry the project. The lifeguard tower became the device I used to frame the city and how we play around and interact with the structures themselves. Then it dawned on me that I would need to make more than 40 good pictures of the same thing!
The Towers Project is a fitting tribute to the Gold Coast. What themes or emotions do you hope your audiences feel when they experience the installation?
I think the project is accessible on many levels. Simply, it’s a documentation project of the Gold Coast lifeguard towers and audiences will hopefully appreciate the artistic survey and observe the urban context of what surrounds these iconic landmarks. Everyone who lives here or visits here will at some point or another experience and perhaps connect with a particular numbered lifeguard tower (I have strong ties to #34, #38 and #45 having grown up on the northern end of the city). In that sense, I hope audiences, whether residents or tourists, can perhaps feel nostalgia and attachment to a particular lifeguard tower/photograph. And on a far deeper level, I hope audiences will reflect on our basic human need to feel at home. We all inhabit space, and we embed it with meaning so as to make it a place. This was my ambition with the project. The photographs served as an inquiry into my settlement identity and how a psychological bond is formed between place and person.
What next for the Towers series? Are there more to capture and show?
They’ve all been captured, yes, but I need to revisit a few to see if they can be captured in better light. I’m not sure how many there are in total. The furthest tower at The Spit is #46 but there are gaps to account for the future growth of the city. For example, #9 is in Tugun and the next tower north is #12 at Currumbin Rock. In other words, I haven’t done the maths but I’m nearly there, and I’m working closely with collaborators in various disciplines to bring this project to life through a photobook. Fingers crossed this aspect of the project will be realised by COB 2021.