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Rehearsing Catastrophe: the Ark in Avoca

Lyndal Jones

The Avoca Project is an international art project in regional Victoria, Australia, centred on Watford House. Referred to locally as 'The Swiss House', this pre-fabricated gold-rush residence was imported from Germany in 1850. The house is thus an immigrant, its walls revealing stories of wealth and a European glamour now faded by the harshness of the climate and the decreasing services that are the result of globalisation and climate extremes in rural Australia.

Lyndal Jones is an artist who focuses on context and place through very long-term projects. Here she works with the local community and national and international artists, scholars and climate change experts to develop a series of works of art to heighten this image of the house as immigrant, weathered but resilient, and the place, the land, the landscape as a site of climate change and response.

Parallel research projects with climate change experts and artists are developing other artworks as indicators of water and power useage. Together these works will become part of the house and its site, combining to create a large-scale, poetic image of resilience to climate change in a small country town, where climate change action becomes viable by focusing on the specifics of place. This project takes place over 10 years (2005-2015) and includes land works, exhibitions, performances, film showings, concerts and symposia.

Lyndal Jones converted Watford House into a giant ship as part of a sound and video installation project called Rehearsing Catastrophe; the Ark in Avoca, Watford House Avoca.

Video/sound installation with performance by 140 people
The Avoca Project, Video Documentation – via Vimeo