Ephemera’s City by the Sea

City Blocks is one of 40 artworks that will adorn Townsville's Strand for Strand Ephemera from 26 July to 4 August. PHOTO: Supplied

Strand Ephemera returns this year with the work of more than 40 artists and performers to be scattered along Townsville’s picturesque beachfront.

Amidst delicate pieces inspired by the sea, a giant wooden deity, incarcerated garden gnomes, a hand emerging from the sand, and multiple pieces that will take on different forms after dark, you will find City Blocks.

Galax-Sea in Strand Ephemera
Galax-sea is a motion-triggered installation work by multimedia artist Robert Crispe. PHOTO: Supplied.

The interactive art piece, comprising 50 large cubes lit with prints of local buildings on the sides, has been created by two local businesses: Counterpoint Architecture and print and signage company, The Digimen.

Counterpoint’s co-owners Zammi Rohan and Mark Kennedy said they hoped their entry would celebrate the artistic nature of Townsville’s buildings.

“Some of [the prints] are quite obvious, others are a little bit more abstract,” said Zammi. “We want people to go up and try and figure out for themselves if they can identify these different things around the city.

Daniel Popper has created a 5m high wooden female deity that will emerge from the beachfront. PHOTO: Supplied

“Living in your regular surrounds you don’t often stop and appreciate different elements of the built environment, you kind of just take it for granted. It really is trying to spark that little bit of interest in the people who are looking at it and maybe that will encourage them to take more notice around the city.”

While Mark and Zammi are used to working on much more permanent structures – their projects include the new Townsville Stadium, the Sealink ferry terminal, and buildings at James Cook University – they’re enjoying the challenge of creating something that merges the professional and art worlds together. City Blocks is intended to evolve as patrons of Ephemera move and play with the blocks to create different structures.

“We want to be forming a space that people are inside,” said Mark.

“The space should be used to its full advantage with people being able to create towers of boxes for others to walk through.”

Sydney’s Meliisa Carey has created The Spiral of Life, which creates an infinite flow of energy and unity. PHOTO: Supplied

Usually the realm of traditional visual artists, it’s exciting to see two groups of creative professionals partnering for Ephemera this year.

“Collaboration is a big part of how we operate, whether it’s collaboration with other architects, consultants or artists,” said Zammi.

“When we developed the early concepts for this project, we felt that there was a really strong need to partner with someone that was able to work with us to help us deliver our vison of the project.”

Mark said The Digimen were an obvious fit.

“We’ve worked with them professionally before, so we already had a relationship with them. When we showed them the ideas, they were really keen to be part of it.”

The Digimen were ultimately responsible for printing the images that appear on Counterpoint’s blocks.

While the work is, by name, ‘ephemeral’ Mark and Zammi hope City Blocks will continue to evolve even after the last sculpture has been removed from the Strand.

“We are hoping that they have another life after this, but we don’t know what that is,” said Mark.

“As a local business, we think it’s really important to back up our city and be part of things like this,” Mark said.

“This is not a commercial project. We are interested in giving back something to the community. We really do value building up knowledge of the built environment because we won’t have a good city if people don’t care.”

Catch the work of more than 40 artists at this year’s Strand Ephemera, which runs 26 July – 4 August 2019.

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