/ Project undertaken in collaboration with MONA and MADA

Located on the main lawn at the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart, the project named the Heavy Metal Retaining Wall was conceived of as a communication device and repository for the heavy metal contamination in the River Derwent. A long, thick rammed earth wall representing the sediment of the river is punctured by 5 varying sized apertures that reflect the different concentrations of the main heavy metals that currently pollute the river; Cadmium, Zinc, Lead, Copper and Mercury. Each of the apertures actually incorporate these metals; a lockable black chest containing yellow cadmium glazed tiles, a large central room clad in recycled zinc, a small box wrapped in recycled lead, a threshold lined with copper sheets and a narrow doorway containing a cabinet full of viles of mercury. Lining the back of the rammed earth wall are a series of thin, prefabricated concrete walls which over time fill up with glass bricks containing the dried flesh of oysters that have been taken from the river, extracting the accumulated heavy metals found in their systems from the river. Whilst performing it's conceptual role, the structure creates an armature for social activities on the MONA lawn. Piercing through the wall is a long jetty-like table made from macracarpa pine, to be used for group dinners, fashion shows and or just sitting on.

Photographs by Jonathan Wherrett