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Tahlia Palmer, Murnong, 2023. Activation: Skylight at Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Naarm/Melbourne.

Image courtesy of Teagan Ramsay.


Skylight is a collection of site-responsive artworks that use projection as material in their ideas. The works presented by our current cohort of artists-in-residence and guests will interact with and respond to the architecture and history of The Mission to Seafarers site. The diverse range of individual conceptual frameworks for each of these artists will take over the Spanish architectural characteristics of the building with light to investigate and explore the spatial and temporal possibilities that this form allows to create immersive spaces.

Mission to The Mission to Seafarers Victoria,

717 Flinders St, Docklands.

Thursday 20th - Monday 30th January, 

12 PM - 8 PM Daily



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The ElectroPoetics (Bixiao Zhang), Fleeting Dock , 2023

The project attunes to and (re)imagines the possible memories and futures of the Mission to Seafarers incorporating image and sound generative AI. Seeing the Heritage location as an intersectional dock of colonel history, global industrialisation, a caring dock for the seafarers which the majority came from south-east Asia nowadays, seagulls’ favorite spots, a place filled with unseen and unheard stories waiting to be heard, and a praxis ground for small garden ecology, the project explores a polyphonic approach that (re)imagines the overlapping worlds within Mission to Seafarers, oscillating between their possible past and future. The project is The Electropoetics’ continuous experiments with AI and algorithms as dynamic relations (as alternative to AI as control technology or corporate magic tools), exploring AI’s potential for exploring unexpected hidden stories. 

As a praxis of care, this project performs the Heritage’s multiperspective beingness, a liminal space that attunes to and orchestrates polyphonic voices. The (re)imagined stories are interwoven through historical archives, internet data, the building’s material landscape, and the generative AI making unexpected perspectives. The generated animation is projected onto the old walls of the now retired mansion house kitchen for seafarers, evoking dialog with the physical traces of the place’s past and future, the gone and yet to come.


Juan Rodriguez Sandoval, Cycles of Limitation (Ciclos de Limitación), 2023.

This projection work seeks to marry the conceptual and belief frameworks of the Guatemalan tradition, 'Palo Volador' ('Flying Pole'), within the architectural features of the ladder-space at The Mission to Seafarers, Victoria. Concerned with the historical and metaphysical limitations of the space, the artwork acts as a neo-ritualistic activation to comprehend enclosed spaces and enclosed cycles, that lead to sky-centred and framed exteriors that are otherwise inaccessible to the public. Similarly, by gesture, the flying pole dance is a ritual that entices a global audience but is only practiced by the indigenous/Mayan groups in these regional Guatemalan Communities. Furthermore, the work enacts a polygamous manifestation of the organisation’s seascapes to that with the relationship and ecological contributions and cycles of water, clouds and rain, and is interested in how these deep outdoor ecological cycles manifest an indoor yet secluded space. 


Leitu Bonnici, Lomiga Tasi: Folasaga Lona Lua ... Ata Tifaga ... Sologa, 2023

Lomiga Tasi: Folasaga Lona Lua ... Ata Tifaga ... Sologa, translating to ‘Issue One: Second Introduction ... Film ... In Progress’, is an unconventional hybrid of documentary and publication created across Naarm, Kombumerri Country and Tāmaki Makaurau in collaboration with Denise Roberts, Moira Roberts and Tacy Fatu. The work both documents and extends upon the making of the webpage for Lomiga Tasi: Folasaga Lona Lua, the first issue in a series of publications under the ongoing project ’Afa’afakasi. The informally created online resource acts as a basic introduction to gagana Sāmoa (Sāmoan language) and fa‘asāmoa (the Sāmoan way), while playfully using digital filters to investigate feelings of cultural disconnection and lack of representation.


Melody Woodnutt, The Porthole, 2023

Utilising expanded cinema and cues from ‘The Ship of Theseus’, this work constitutes an attempt to finish building, in part, Woodnutt’s late grandfather's unfinished 17m long wooden boat frame now in ruins, conjuring it as a spectral fiction. Woodnutt’s repeated attempt to finish the boat builds upon the allegory of mountain climbing in Rene Dumal’s Mount Analog, of which the author died before the novel’s completion. This conspicuously absent “boat” has no hull or captain but is here evoked through a vintage porthole - fragmented in a liminal world between sea and cosmos. Entangled with Woodnutt’s auto-theoretical experience of growing up in Tropical North Queensland, The Porthole is part of a wider project called ‘The Ship’; which aims to fold romantic conceptualism with hauntologies and a deep acknowledgement of Country alongside an audience's own relations and ideas of what a boat might mean across time and space today.

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Lilah Benetti, Kings with empty pockets, 2023

'Kings with empty pockets’ is the story of the lone seafarer in limbo in search of rest and worship, whose spirit finally returns to the sea. The faceless protagonist reflects the many stories of visitors from beyond the sea who have passed through the Mission to Seafarers, while the installation experiments with the visceral experience of the heritage space and the idea of the spirit returning home.


Eric Jong, Anamorphosis, 2023

Lofi LiDAR scans of locations within the Mission to Seafarers which are rarely visited by the general public are presented in this work as distorted projections, requiring the viewer to occupy a specific vantage point in the room. Taking a seat at the antique writing desk will provide a point of view from which the oblique projections take shape. 

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Tahlia Palmer, Murnong, 2023

Murnong is a collection of audiovisual works comprised of three digital video projections and soundscape. This collection explores Palmer’s relationship to the murnong plant, a staple food crop for Palmer’s Murri ancestors before invasion, as well as, peoples of the Kulin Nation, a food that Palmer recently began to grow in their backyard. Two videos are composed of documentation of different stages of murnong growth. One video is composed of footage of a tablecloth Palmer’s Aunty Cheryl Moodai Robinson made in the 1990s while working on Dharug country, which features information and drawings of murnong.


This work highlights the sacredness of the plant, its importance to Palmer, their family, and many other Aboriginal people on the east side of the Australian continent who have connections to the plant, pushing it forward as a symbol of survival; The act of growing, harvesting, cooking, eating and collecting and  sharing. Its seeds is a powerful healing and decolonial action for Palmer and other Murris and Kooris, empowering us to connect further with traditional life-ways after 180 years of familial dispossession and forced assimilation. 


Carl Knox, The Cosmic Symphony at Seafarers, 2023

As a multi-disciplinary artist, Knox’s work delves into extreme physics, specifically the historic first detections of gravitational waves and the enigmatic nature of black holes and warped space-time. Through the immersive medium of projection art, Knox aims to visually and emotionally convey the profound implications of these groundbreaking discoveries and their impact on our understanding of the universe. Knox’s work seeks to bridge the gap between science and art, encouraging audiences to ponder the vastness and complexity of the cosmos and our place within it.


SkylighSkylight video documentation, 2023. Activation: Skylight at Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Naarm/Melbourne.

Image courtesy of Devika Bilimoria.


Artistic director & curator: Priya Namana

Operations Manager: Catriona Black-Dinham

Program and Technical Manager: Anatol Pitt

Marketing & Communications: Teagan Ramsay 

Technical Mentor: Yandell Walton, Jen Valender



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