M12 Collective: Ornitarium

Feb 1 2012
Published by under Art, Poetry and Musings
Ornitarium photograph by Richard Saxton

Next week sees the opening of Spaced – Art Out Of Place, the International Biennial of Socially Engaged Art. Members of the M12
collective will join the exhibition and its related symposium to speak
about the installation they designed and implemented in Denmark,
Australia: The Ornitarium.

aesthetically elegant structure serves as a bird hide, a place of rest,
and a site for art and contemplation – while welcoming local residents
to consider the ecological and cultural landscape
The Ornitarium is housed at the Wetlands Education Centre and is operated by the group Green Skills. 
Below, the M12 collective elaborates on the ideas behind this structure
and its relationship to place. For more information, and larger
high-resolution images, please visit here: 

project has been inspired by “local knowledge” found in Southwestern
Australia – specifically knowledge related to birds that populate the
regions wetlands areas, regional timber types, and building methods. The
work is designed and built as a bird hide and as a social space. The
Ornitarium has a large front wall that stands as the dividing line
between human habitat and wetland habitat, and a platform that invites
visitors to spend time around the structure; encouraging learning and
providing a catalyst for developing a deeper connection to the local
environment and community.

structure explores duality, and binds built space with environment—the
inside expresses notions of the private, contemplative, communal, and
reflective, and the outside wall stands to camouflage human engagement
and reinforce fragmentation, and instinctive habitats such as nests and

UPDATE: Here’s Naomi Millet of The West Australian writing on the Spaced – Art Out Of Place installations: 
Towns such as Narrogin, Leonora, Northam and Mukinbudin are practical
places. You might expect to see farmers there, and wheat bins, or sheep
trucks, road trains and specialist machinery.
In the town centre,
there might be a couple of granite and bronze memorials to founding
pioneers but, apart from that, you wouldn’t have very high hopes of
encountering much sculpture, painting, multimedia or art in these often
stark environments.
This perception is set to change dramatically
with the emergence of Spaced: Art Out of Place, an ambitious biennial
project featuring a collective of international and Australian artists
which not only breaks new ground but also covers a vast amount of it.
Related Articles:

The M12: A New Vision For The High Plains

The 2011 BIG FEED

Richard Saxton’s Vernacular Landscapes



May 2024