Commissioned by ADM+S in July 2023. The artwork has been used for an alumni event celebrating 25+ years of collaboration between RMIT and the University of Melbourne in the research field of Information Retrieval, organised by Damiano Spina (RMIT) and Lida Rashidi (University of Melbourne).
As an artist, my work explores the profound connection between living and sharing on Aboriginal land, intertwining it with the retrieval of valuable information. Through my art, I aim to honour and celebrate the wisdom of Elders, who hold a wealth of cultural knowledge, and the sacredness of the land itself. Drawing from the rich heritage and stories of Indigenous communities, I seek to create a visual narrative that highlights the significance of this symbiotic relationship between people and place. My art becomes a vessel through which the past, present, and future are interwoven, fostering a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness between humans, the land, and the wealth of data embedded in this ancestral bond.
Incorporating a search engine into my artistic process, I embark on a unique journey of creativity that melds traditional storytelling and modern technology. Through data retrieval and analysis, I collect relevant information about the history, culture, and significance of the Aboriginal land. This data-driven approach allows me to extract meaningful patterns and insights, which serve as the foundation for my artistic expressions.
The search engine acts as a guiding force, influencing the composition, colours, and elements within my artwork. By blending the wisdom of Elders’ narratives with the data-driven revelations, I strive to create a harmonious fusion of the past and present. The algorithmic input serves as a channel through which I can pay homage to the deep-rooted traditions while interpreting them in a contemporary context.
As I navigate the artistic process, the search engine acts as both collaborator and curator, helping me select the most relevant information and translating it into visual representations. It enriches my artwork by infusing it with layers of significance, inviting viewers to engage with the cultural heritage of Aboriginal land in a novel and thought-provoking manner.
Ultimately, my art with a search algorithm seeks to bridge the gap between heritage and innovation, fostering a profound appreciation for the timeless connection between Elders, land, and the wealth of knowledge embedded within their intertwined stories.
The blue islands in the artwork are the algorithms floating above the land. The Elders/Ancestors are the symbolic faces which I hope you can see.
Dr Treahna Hamm (Firebrace) has been a practising Artist nationally and internationally and holds a Doctorate of Philosophy (School of Education) at RMIT University – graduating in 2008. Treahna’s career began at Wangaratta TAFE in 1982 before completing 5 degrees in Visual Arts, Teaching and Education.
Her artworks are composed with multi-layers of stories garnered from her experiences of living by the Murray River in Northern Victoria and southern NSW. This, along with contemporary practices including printmaking, painting, photography, public art, sculpture, possum skin cloaks, murals and highly individual fibre weaving. She works with abstract forms as well as traditional designs from her Indigenous heritage.
Treahna has exhibited in New York, South Korea, Hawaii, New Zealand, Paris, Belgium, Germany and the United States. Her vibrant works are in national and international collections.
Her dedication towards rejuvenating, revitalising and retelling oral history through her own life experiences has been a foundation to the collective experience as a whole in Victoria and southern NSW.