The Capitol acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. We respectfully acknowledge their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. We also acknowledge the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.
Presented by RMIT Culture and Craft

In Absence: Reflections

RMIT Culture is pleased to partner with Craft Victoria to co-present a live conversation between First Nations artist Yhonnie Scarce, Edition Office and NGV Senior Curator of Contemporary Design and Architecture, Ewan McEoin, at The Capitol as part of Craft Contemporary 2023.

In 2019, artist and Kokatha and Nukunu woman, Yhonnie Scarce, and Melbourne architecture studio, Edition Office, came together to create their monumental collaboration ‘In Absence’ as the fifth NGV Architecture Commission. Housed in the NGV’s Grollo Equiset Garden from November 2019 to July 2020, the work was a significant commission within the NGV’s ongoing initiative to present temporary works of thought-provoking and immersive architecture.

The commissioned work comprised of a nine-meter-high and ten-meter-wide cylindrical structure of dark-stained Tasmanian hardwood split by a narrow walkway and housing two chambers, each filled with hundreds of handblown glass murnong yams. Inviting audiences to better understand the fallacy of the premise of Terra Nullius, which declared Australia as an emptiness awaiting ownership, the work celebrates and memorialises over 3000 generations of Indigenous design, industry, and agriculture.

Four years since its conception, Craft has teamed up with RMIT Culture to bring the creative team behind the commission back together again to reflect on the project through a live conversation at the Capitol theatre. Led by Ewan McEoin, Senior Curator of Contemporary Design and Architecture at the National Gallery of Victoria, the conversation with artist Yhonnie Scarce and the Edition Office architects will consider the potential of craft practices within architectural contexts and the impact of significant commissions for the individuals involved as well as the industry at large.

This program is co-presented by RMIT Culture and Craft as a part of Craft’s annual festival Craft Contemporary 2023.

Top image: Yhonnie Scarce and Edition Office, In Absence, 2019. Photographer: Ben Hosking. Image courtesy NGV.