Windset by Tom Mùller and Ariane Palassis
Atwell Arcade, High Street Mall, Fremantle WA
Client: Silverleaf Investments and the City of Fremantle
Role of Artsource: Art Consultant
Artist: Tom Mùller and Ariane Palassis
Outcome: Kinetic, site-specific artwork
Artwork budget: $88,000
Completion date: November 2017
Fremantle is a city with close ties to the elemental; water, wind, sky and sun. Even from within the heart of the city you are always aware of your proximity to the Fremantle Port and sea, to the horizon and beyond that the open ocean.
The artists see this piece as a vehicle for exploring the awareness one has of Fremantle’s unique location, on the edge of the land, looking out to sea, even while being enveloped by the urban fabric of High Street.
There are only a few structures that stand up above the crowd of predominately heritage buildings; The clock tower of the Town Hall, the Port Authority Building and the Roundhouse up on Arthur’s Head.
The monumental forms of the cranes lining the north side of the Port are also glimpsed from wherever a tributary street intersects the spine of High Street. An initial response to the site was to align with these high points, reaching up and sharing in their exposure to the natural elements.
From the Fremantle Doctor, to the constant gusts from the sea, the wind is a sometimes dominating element for those living and working in the port city. The artists wanted to harness the winds flowing above the protected city streets to activate the piece and create aural and kinetic effects.
Windset is comprised of three steel posts of varying heights each crowned with an individual rotating weathervane pointing in the direction of the wind. Local poet Jennifer Kornberger has written individual poetry about the various winds that visit Fremantle each year. These individual and intimate words can be experienced when standing next to the work where small speakers are concealed within the posts.
IMAGE: Tom Mùller & Arianne Palassis (Agency 296) in collaboration with Jennifer Kornberger, Windset, 2017. Powder coated steel, speakers, fixings. Image courtesy the artists.