Dune is a conceptual land art pavilion created as a temporary installation
for Succah by the Sea (2019) in conjunction with Sculpture by the Sea (Bondi
2019). Lucy Humphrey was one of six invited artists to create this site
specific installation during the Jewish festival of Succot. Curated by Office
Feuerman, the brief was to re-imagine the traditional Jewish Succah, where
during this festival of temporary dwellings the Succah are guided by a specific
network of design constraints, built and occupied by families for eating,
sleeping, studying and gathering. The structures formed a unique installation,
engineered to prompt different layers of community interaction, with bespoke
tables and benches designed to encourage gathering.
The work is made following the rules of creating a Succah, with a contemporary
approach that merges this temporary building tradition with environmental art.
Conceived as a timber framed structure anchored by a series of rammed earth seats,
the work presents a balance between earth and sky, heavy and light.
DUNE presents a simple but powerful form that embodies layered memories,
encouraging contemplation and connection with the natural world. It draws on
the cultural history of the Succah as well as the coastal site of Bondi, by referencing
the original sand dune landscape of Bondi Beach, situated on Aboriginal land.
The dune edge of the beach was the site of an Aboriginal midden, and developed
after colonisation with the dune landscape being forgotten.
Spatially, Dune explores the relationship between an interior experience of
refuge and the sky – symbolising the grounded and weightless. This is expressed
through a base of loose rock and rammed earth ballast, which anchors a curved
roof made from timber, eucalyptus branches and rope. It’s form draws on the Jewish
memory of exile in the desert, along with the indigenous landscape of Bondi, celebrating
the sand dune as a living natural form that is dynamic and shaped by the wind.
This site-specific response positions the viewer in a space that opens up to
the eastern sea view and sunrise, with filtered sunsets to the west, and protected
from southerly winds. On the windswept headland of Mark’s Park, what’s left of
the remnant vegetation leans at steep angles to the north-east. The structure
mimics this angle of the trees and is designed to disappear – camouflaged into
the landscape - tinted shades of green with natural dyes made from experiments
using local vegetation, seaweed and algae.
DUNE evokes the memory and history of sand dunes in different ways, and this
narrative prompts a dialogue about our contemporary world where the threat of
exile returns. Our climate is breaking down, and coastal dunes are one
indicator of climate change. There is hope that audiences may reflect on their place,
time, and the responsibility that lies with each of us to address the climate
emergency we face.