Oceanarium opens at COPAC in Colac in time for World Environment Day.

June 26, 2017 // Colleen Hughson // No Comments // Posted in Blog, Community, Community Projects, Environment, Video Art

Oceanarium was created for the 2016 Fun 4 Kids festival in Warrnambool. This year it travelled to Colac and spent a week at COPAC for the kids of Colac to enjoy. We are hoping that Oceanarium will travel further afield to educate and delight all those who experience it.

Oceanarium Video Projections installation at COPAC (Colac)

I am one of the four artists who created Oceanarium which was led by artist Becky Nevin Berger. I worked closely with Deakin University Marine Biologists, lead artist Becky Nevin and workshop participants to create Open Ocean Video Sphere Art Biome, a multichannel tactile video installation. Open Ocean Video Sphere is a series of video artworks interwoven into the main rocky shore installation. As part of my role I ran 24 film editing workshops and involved the community in the production of the films in the pre-festival program. During the 2016 Fun 4 Kids Festival, Open Ocean Video Sphere had a total of 87 short films screening over 21 screens (including 5 projections, 5 Old TVs, Digi-Frames and flat screen TVs embedded into Rock Pool Sculptures). There were 26 people who contributed over 200 Gig worth of video footage towards the project and a further 85 people involved in the video editing workshops creating short films with the footage for the space.

Below are some video interviews with all the four artists involved in Oceanarium.

The following words are by lead artist Becky Nevin Berger

Oceanarium is a multi-artwork installation developed especially for children from ages 2-12. It has been designed as a way to deepen children’s appreciation and understanding of the marine environment.
Four artists worked with Deakin University marine scientists to create a beautiful world that captures the different aspects of marine ecology. Oceanarium recreates the rocky shore, an underwater kelp forest, the dark, deep ocean environment and is interwoven with video screens showing footage of the many creatures that inhabit these worlds.

This child centred installation allows children to participate on multiple levels with an array of sensory mediums and different modes for exploration built in.

Rocky Shore Wonder Place

Oceanarium Installation at Fun4Kids, 2016 from distan bach on Vimeo.

NOTE: This video titled Oceanarium Installation at Fun4Kids, 2016 was created by Distan Bach.

A series of timber sculptures made by artist Becky Nevin Berger. It replicates the rocky shore environment along Warrnambool coastline. Children can climb on these sturdy timber cliffs, across bridges and through hidden caverns and tunnels. Coloured lights and Perspex illuminate this magical world which has rock pools and rock flaps filled with handmade marine creatures.

Open Ocean Video Sphere

Oceanarium Artist: Colleen Hughson from First Ladies – Colleen Hughson on Vimeo.

Combining projected video with various embedded screens woven through the installation this series of films has been made by film maker Colleen Hughson. Using an array of footage from Deakin University’s own collection, from divers and beach goers, as well as captured herself, Colleen has created beautiful and dynamic works that bring the ocean to life in this installation.
Woven Forest Whale Sanctuary

Oceanarium Artist: Deb Saunders from First Ladies – Colleen Hughson on Vimeo.

This hanging textile work has a footprint of approximately 25sq m, it was made by artist Deb Saunders with material knitted by more than 600 participants in a series of community based workshops. A set of seven hanging knitted tubes simulates an underwater kelp environment creating an immersive, tactile space that filters light and creates dancing shadows.

Deep Ocean Other World

Oceanarium Artist: Karen Richards from First Ladies – Colleen Hughson on Vimeo.

Presented in a dark room adjoining the main installation space this textile artwork recreates the very deep sea environment. Created by artists Karen Richards and Sue Ferrari this work is comprised of intricate embroideries using iridescent thread that illuminates when lit. Participants enter the space wearing head torches that reveal countless deep sea creatures rendered in amazing detail.

Keep up with the latest photos and events on the Oceanarium Facebook Page

Read my blog about the process of creating the Open Ocean Video Sphere.

Video Artwork screens in FOUR Exbitition

October 11, 2015 // Colleen Hughson // No Comments // Posted in Blog, Video Art

I was invited by artist and project facilitator Cat Bailey to be an artist for the Virtual Arboretum Project, an ongoing responsive art project (conceived and facilitated by artist Cat Bailey.) For the project, I was asked to create an artwork in response to the Portland Gardens.

Here Cat Bailey explains the Virtual Arboretum Project,

“It aims to bring people’s awareness to nature by increasing foot-traffic to the green spaces in towns or cities, through innovative, artistic, environmental and or socio-historic responses by local, national and international artists. Engagement, by new and old audiences, facilitated through mobile phone technology, enables the artwork to be either temporary and ephemeral or permanently displayed. This project was designed, in part, to promote artists as visionaries, innovators and providers of new perspectives and awarenesses to the layers of existence associated with plant and animal species we have within arms reach. It was also made as a virtual model for archiving both local botanical history and innovative artworks, through the artist’s response to place. Finally using mobile phone technology creates a virtual pathway across regions enabling a unique form of exploration and some useful information to travellers and locals alike.”


For myself, this was a wonderful opportunity to explore video art and installation. I got together with the talented and widely exhibited Carmel Wallace to create a 3 channel video art piece called ‘Flora’.

Flora from First Ladies – Colleen Hughson on Vimeo.

While we were figuring out when, where and how we were going to exhibit the completed video artwork, an opening came up at the Portland Art Gallery for a month long exhibition. Cat saw this as a great opportunity to display the Virtual Arboretum Project artworks in a gallery, as well as create some new art works. Cat invited the four VAP artists to exhibit, Sandra Winkworth (Sydney), Carmel Wallace (Portland), Cat Bailey (Narrawong) and myself. There were four of us, and so the name FOUR seemed like a perfect fit for the exhibition.

This would be my first art exhibition as an (video) artist, exhibiting alongside seasoned artists, so it was both terrifying and very exciting. It also felt expansive; I had the freedom to create whatever I felt like. It was art after-all, so NO RULES!

I created two completely new ‘artworks’, recycled another and finished a video piece that I had started a number of years back. The anxiety of an upcoming exhibition was just the motivation I needed!

The FOUR exhibition at the Portland Art Gallery ran from March 3rd – 28th this year and then the VAP artworks went ‘virtual’ and were accessed online via QR Codes located at the Portland Gardens.

So, now with the magic of the WWW, I’m bringing my first video art exhibition, as part of the FOUR Exhibition to you.

Industrial Playground, Video Art Installation, FOUR Exhibition, Portland

Industrial Playground, Video Art Installation, FOUR Exhibition, Portland from First Ladies – Colleen Hughson on Vimeo.

‘Industrial Playground’ Video Art Installation, Portland Art Gallery
a photo film by Colleen Hughson
sound recordist Byron Sutterby
skateboarder Jack Ryan
Warrnambool Victoria Australia 2015

Industrial Playground explores how skateboarders view the potential of the urban landscape for fun. Colleen plays with the moving image, creating stills that come to life through sound and movement.

Black n’ White Photographs, film and Audio
6 min 50 sec (LOOP)

‘HDIMYF?’ Video Installation. FOUR Exhibition, Portland

‘HDIMYF?’ Video Installation. FOUR Exhibition, Portland from First Ladies – Colleen Hughson on Vimeo.

How Does It Make You Feel? (video Installation, FOUR Exhibition, Portland)
Multi-screen Television Installation
Photographs by Colleen Hughson and Danni Noad
Animation by Colleen Hughson

dancers Melissa Dance, Chelsey Reis, Danni Noad and Colleen Hughson
Warrnambool Victoria Australia 2015

How Does It Make You Feel? Explores how clothing can bring out different personas.
Remembering their favorite childhood activity of playing dress-ups, a group of friends get together to re-live their childhood fun with pre-loved clothing.

Created with Televisions saved from the tip

Photo Animation
3 min (LOOP)

Autumn – Video Installation, FOUR Exhibition, Portland art Gallery from First Ladies – Colleen Hughson on Vimeo.

Autumn (A)
a short film by Colleen Hughson
music composed and recorded by John Hudson
dancer Melissa Dance
Warrnambool Victoria Australia 2015

Autumn celebrates the cycle of life and death. Through the healing practice of dance, Melissa Dance pays homage to her late father who passed away during the Autumn time. Melissa uses dance as a tool to transform her grief into a celebration of his life.

Digital Video
3 min 50 sec (LOOP)

Autumn (B)
a photo story by Colleen Hughson
photographs by Colleen Hughson and Danni Noad
storyteller Melissa Dance
Warrnambool Victoria Australia 2010

Local dancer, Melissa Dance, tells the story of her experiences with grief and her relationship to Autumn through dance, word and images.

Black n’ White Photographs and Audio.
2 min 40 sec (LOOP)

Flora – Video Installation, FOUR Exhibition, Portland Art Gallery

Flora – Video Installation, FOUR Exhibition, Portland Art Gallery from First Ladies – Colleen Hughson on Vimeo.

Flora is a short film by Colleen Hughson and Carmel Wallace, with music composed and recorded by Michael Wallace. Flora is played by Ella Eade. Shot in the Botanic Gardens in Portland Victoria Australia 2015.

Flora celebrates the richness and fecundity of nature, personified by a young woman wearing a cloak* made of flowers. The singular beauty of indigenous species is displaced by seductive mass plantings of exotic flora as introduced by successive boat people to these shores. Whilst we may question this displacement, the film presents a post-colonial view of harmonious co-habitation: the bees happily feast on the nectar of both indigenous and introduced flowers, and we as audience also enjoy the extravagant beauty of both.

*Titled Flowers for Gardens, this cloak was originally created by Carmel Wallace in 2013 for One River, a Centenary of Canberra project, supported by the ACT Government & the Australian Government, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, The Sidney Myer Fund and the Australia Council for the Arts.

For enquiries about this work and others by the artists:
firstladies.com.au or colleen.firstladies@gmail.com
carmelwallace.com or carmelwallaceart@gmail.com
michaelwallacemusic.com or mycalwallace@gmail.com

The project The Virtual Arboretum Portland was made possible by the Australian Governments regional arts program, the Regional Arts Fund, which gives all Australians, wherever they live, better access to opportunities to practice and experience the arts. The Regional Arts Fund is administered in Victoria by Regional Arts Victoria.

RELATED Articles:

‘Top Artists collaborate for Portland Exhibition’, Bluestone Magazine




Landscapes and Locals Window Installation

September 25, 2015 // Colleen Hughson // No Comments // Posted in Community, Community Projects, Video Art

This is a clip of the ‘Landscapes and Locals’ Window Installation in main street Peterborough which screened Jan 22nd- Jan 30th, 2015.

I was funded through the Moyne Shire Pitch Project Initiative to collaborate with the Peterborough community to create a nature-style film.  The resulting film titled ‘Landscapes and Locals’ captures the stunning beauty of the Peterborough area, from the striking cliff faces, the pounding southern waves to the smaller details such as rock-pool inhabitants.

The film was filmed by ten participants on numerous cameras including smartphones, iPads, GoPros, DSLRs and Drones over the course of a few months. The resulting 40 hours of footage was collected, sorted, selected and edited into a 15 minute film by myself. Filmers include Natasha Johnson, Alex Nesic, Christine Norton, Wendy Couch, Barry Pike, Cath Bell, Gary Boehm, Coralee Askew, Luke Foster and myself.

The Snapshots project concluded with a full-house community screening of ‘Landscapes and Locals’ as part of the Celebrate Peterborough: Fireworks and Film Event. The screening represented the end of a six month film project that involved film-making workshops and the community creating a film together. To read more and check out event photos, see facebook/PeterboroughSnapshots

During two weeks in January while all the holiday makers were in town, the ‘Landscapes and Locals’ film screened on loop in the window in Mac Street, Peterborough. People treated it like a drive-in and pulled up in their cars or on their bikes to watch it after dark.

Watch the full film here:

Landscapes and Locals from First Ladies – Colleen Hughson on Vimeo.

‘Landscapes and Locals’ is a collaborative film that celebrates the life, landscape & local flora & fauna of Peterborough during winter. This project is a partnership between the Moyne Council, the Peterborough Residents Group and Filmmaker Colleen Hughson. Music by John Hudson and Matt Hewson.