Submitted Review

osmosis collaborative projects with Marco Rinaldi, Mara Schwerdtfeger and George Webeck ‘osmosis: Nostalgia as a form of Healing’

  • Number One Dixon Shopping Centre Level 5 Monorail Station • Sydney

  • 19 May—29 May 2021

  • Ashleigh Jones • Published 26 May 2021

‘Rather than using light to reveal, light is used to be the revelation.’

The Dixon 1 Plaza Monorail Station once was a symbol of an optimistic Sydney busily preparing itself for the mass migration the Olympics blesses its host cities with. However, for the past seven years this monorail site has laid unused with inches of dust covering its floor without a footprint of man nor bird.

The latest iteration of osmosis sits within this meaning rich site. The plaza itself is early 90’s salmon pink with chrome tubular handrails framing glass balconies and shiny views to floors below. The aspirational architecture of the plaza, much like the monorail, seemed to whisper a promise to its then contemporaries of the early 2000s, ambitious retail in chic commercial style; this whisper is now a careless sweet nothing. A sign hanging on the plaza’s wall which once read “Fun Fashion Food” has now lost its first F, symptomatically disagreeing with its former self.

What is lost when we forget and no longer care for the aspirations of the recent past? And what can we gain by revisiting sites and music that filled us with reassurance for the future? To answer these questions osmosis monorail installation reactivates this memory rich site and takes at its starting point the generative, transformative potential of nostalgia shaped through light, sound and space.

This iteration of osmosis is concerned with returning to the past as a form of therapeutic escape. This past could be anyone’s in any decade, the time is irrelevant. Rather, osmosis is interested in the comforting effects everyone’s personal nostalgia has on them, and much like this monorail station, the capacity of the mind as a cacophonous space where memories reside offering their loyal returner well-worn stories and a place to disembark from the stress of the present day.

Perched on the side of the Dixon 1 Plaza building coddled in low humming sounds awashed with lights of green and blue, you are suspended from daily life, allowing you to disembark to where your mind wants to travel to. These moving lights are helped by fields of colour, which radiate from above the monorails windows in bands of variegated hues to represent motion as a reflection of the sound wave traveling up and down the station.

The location however is not just a set of instructions to remember times past, it is a metaphor for a moment of experiential comfort that the past often generously offers us. The installation takes an allusive approach to this, but hinges upon the capacity of one formal experience to suggest another, involving translation between the sonic, the visual, the spatial, the kinaesthetic, the somatic and the psychological.

The point of connection between osmosis’ choice of medias – light, sound and place – the moment of translation between the intangible auditory phenomenon of sound to the concrete solidity of built form – reside in the experience of the audience. osmosis has intentionally allowed the viewer’s experience to be open, broad even. Rather than using light to reveal, light is used to be the revelation. The sound playing is on constant loop with no clear starting point or end. Without having a set of clear instructions or a subject for the viewer to focus on the primal experience of life is used to fill in the blanks, and this is how osmosis facilitates time travel.

Ashleigh Jones

Sound: Mara Schwerdtfeger
Light: George Webeck
Creative Direction: Marco Rinaldi.