This Ancestral Eel Is Weaving Its Way Around Hamer Hall

Nicole de Souza Nicole de Souza - Staff Writer

This Ancestral Eel Is Weaving Its Way Around Hamer Hall

Uncover this mesmerising digital projection in the heart of Melbourne.

As part of this year’s RISING festival, interdisciplinary artists Maree Clarke and her nephew Mitch Mahoney have teamed up to create Ancestral Memory. This piece of artwork features an eel on a journey, taking on many forms and travelling across land, river and sea.

Why an eel?

It’s National Reconciliation Week and this projection piece lives on as a way to amplify the voices of the First Peoples. With Melbourne in lockdown, it is also a show of solidarity.

The eel is of incredible significance to members of the Kulin Nation. For them, the eel is a protector spirit, seasonal marker and timekeeper. It is also an important food source. The metaphor of the Spirit Eel draws on themes of resilience, adaptation and a connection between time and place.

According to Mahoney, “The work really touches on the idea of passing down intergenerational memory between parents, their offspring and the generation to come.”

The animation unfolds into different iterations of the eel. Watch it come to life and weave its way around the façade of Hamer Hall from sunset to midnight.


But wait… there’s more!

When you go past Hamer Hall, take a look down the Yarra River, or the Birrarung. You will see a massive, 200-metre-long, glowing eel skeleton. This installation, called Wandering Stars, represents the migratory journey of the eel. Presented by The Lantern Company, this installation features a soundscape, floating lanterns, and a full lunar cycle of moons rising from the river.

Both Ancestral Memory and Wandering Stars will be available to see until June 6. Due to the current lockdown, festival organisers have asked that you only see these artworks if you’re exercising within 5km of your home. Otherwise, you might be able to catch a glimpse of them on your way to or from work.

For more information, check out RISING’s website.

Need more art? Try: Melbourne’s Immersive, Multi-Sensory Van Gogh Alive Exhibition Will Now Open In September

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