Artists: mcdemottbaxter (Australia) / Toer (The Netherlands)
This installation is about discovery and a history of chance encounters, and celebrates a relationship between Australia and the Netherlands that spans several centuries. In the 1600s, riding the trade winds of the Roaring Forties across the Indian Ocean provided Dutch sailors with a quick passage to the Spice Islands (now Indonesia). However, by accident and possibly sometimes design, they came across the coast of the mysterious Great South Land which soon became known to Europeans as New Holland. It was 400 years ago this year that one of these sailors, Dirk Hartog, made the first recorded landing of a European in Western Australia in a remote area which still bears his name.
‘Spice Winds’ uses way finding directional lights and the kinetic energy of wind to pay homage to the early sailors and their skills in traversing the treacherous seas along the Roaring Forties. Flags of orange (the representational colour of the Netherlands) direct the lights to illuminate the surroundings and the audience.
These early sailors used the power of wind in their travels, and wind power had an important part in the history of the Netherlands with the development of wind mills to pump water from the land. Likewise windmills have been important in the history of rural Australia, pumping water for the survival of farms. Wind power still has a role to play in 21st century sustainable technologies.
Countries represented by installation: Australia/Netherlands