Interpretive Wonderings

Mapping responses to local Indigenous stories, spatial narratives, & sites of cultural significance.

Exploring spatial aspects of intercultural transdisciplinary arts practices, this presentation is centred upon a mapping workshop that took place at Culpra Station; an 8000 hectare property in rural NSW, bounded by both a national park and the Murray River. The property is home to a number of significant cultural heritage sites including Aboriginal burials, hearths, middens, scarred trees, fish trap, an ochre quarry as well pastoral relics including stockyards, a homestead and nascent irrigation landforms. A selection of thirty Indigenous and non-indigenous participants were invited to the station to produce interpretive mappings through which to explore multivalent understandings of country.

Located within the field of critical spatial practice, the presentation of this research builds upon a body of critical cartographic work that sees mapping as ‘performative, participatory and political’. ‘Transgressing the limits of art and architecture to engage with both the social and the aesthetic’ participants were asked to map material and immaterial qualities of country. Responding to local Indigenous stories, spatial narratives and sites of cultural and environmental significance, maps were produced through a series of journeys and conversations using digital, analog and performance based media. Focusing on exchanges of knowledge through intercultural and transdisciplinary creative practice, the outcome of the workshop is a collection of mapping artefacts in a range of media including recordings, collections, performance, video, composition, assemblages, writing, drawings, construction and photography.

Through the processes of production inherent in these mappings, the research ambition is to provide new understandings of Indigenous and non-Indigenous spatial sensibilities, drawing out and on the tensions inherent between ways of knowing in the cultural and disciplinary domains gathered in the workshop. This presentation seeks to explore these processes and some of the artefacts themselves, opening them up to a further conversation around the ‘mobility turn’.