In day 10 of FestiveNESS, we explore questions related to design and territory. Using indigenous knowledge systems, ready-made scaffolding, the international symbol of the flag, and botanicals, this portable territory designed by Urtzi Grau & Guillermo Fernández-Abascal (GFA) with Charlotte Haywood is a Jewish structure built in Australia on Aboriginal land that raises important questions related to territory, migration, and climate change. Through a mix of international symbols and local knowledge, various tensions emerge in an accessible way.
Ph. Hamish McIntosh
A Portable Territory by Urtzi Grau & Guillermo Fernández-Abascal (GFA) with Charlotte Haywood
The succah is a wandering structure. It was built in a rush using off-the-shelf scaffolding tubes, naturally dyed fabric, and botanicals. The scaffolding is on wheels. The succah moves and will eventually disappear after a temporary celebration. It refuses to occupy. The fabric enclosure is made of flags; they let the air pass through. The flags appropriate the international code of signals which vessels use to communicate important messages regarding safety and navigation. They spell: “always was always will be Aboriginal land.” The botanicals are hung from the roof and they map the endemic species of the Waverley area. The botanicals partially shield us from the sky; they are a refuge for the local birds.
The associations between the succah’s layered elements are not the point of the installation, they are the by-product of the collaboration between architects, botanical artists, and ethnobotanists hailing from such diverse places as D’harawal Country, Sydney, Spain, and regional NSW. Together they call upon their cultural, artistic, technical, and indigenous knowledge systems.
Authors and elements strangely found their place, and together, they form a precarious whole. The succah’s scaffolding, fabric, and roof barely come together.
Ph. Hamish McIntosh
CONCEPT AND DESIGN: Urtzi Grau & Guillermo Fernández-Abascal (GFA) with Charlotte Haywood / BOTANICAL DYING + PRODUCTION: Leah Giblin with Lynette Robertson and Marianne Close (Flag production-sewing); and Hugo Vos (Flag Production- dyeing assistant) / BOTANICAL STRUCTURE + PRODUCTION: Selena Murray / DESIGN TEAM: Gareth Bussey / IMAGES: Hamish McIntosh / SPONSORS: Stronghold Hire (Scaffolding) and E&M Greenfield (Fabric) / LOCATION: Marks Park, Tamarama, Sydney / CLIENT: Succah by the Sea (Shalom with Office Feuerman as creative director) / YEAR: 2019