The Offering: A Sculptural Site Intervention
Trent Gilliss, senior editor
Meditation and contemplation take many forms. Often we (at least I do) think of this act of introspection and focus as being a peaceful, tranquil experience where the noise of machinery recedes to make way for internal silence and harmony. But, Australian artist Robbie Rowlands’ creative vision saddles up those moments of sitting and evaluating with the harmonious execution of circular saws and hammers. They are more than instruments of delivery; they are the yogis, to some extent:
“The cut, for me, is so violent. Well, not violent. It’s incredibly tense. That’s why working with the power tools is quite crucial to the work, because, it demands your full attention. You have to have full concentration.”
Rowlands makes this point in the film above, which documents his dissection of a single story, clapboard church and community hall in Dandenong, Victoria originally built in 1904. Described as a “sculptural site intervention,” The Offering uses only the materials contained within the structure itself to create the installation.
And, for the observer, the exposed layers of history reveal symbols and moments in time worthy of introspection. History becomes the meditative center. And, once again for a brief while, this church becomes an anchor in its community — and a spiritual center worth meditating upon.
Update (June 2, 2010): I just happened upon this radio documentary from ABC Radio National about The Offering. Aside from the visual, what differentiates this piece from above is its inclusion of residents who used to inhabit the space — from a member of a Hindu religious group to a man who used to take dance lessons there. Well worth a listen.