Floating Land 2011

An ghost net art exhibition and a ghost net workshop were held at the Floating Land Festival. Photo by Sue Ryan.

Floating Land Festival, Noosa 2011

Ghost Net Art Project facilitators included Queensland fibre artist Marion Gaemers, artists from Moa Island and artists and facilitators from Darnley Island added to proceedings.

Conceived in 2001 as an outdoor sculpture exhibition, Floating Land has made a name for itself as one of Australia’s leading Green Arts events. Re-engaging the community with nature has sparked the imagination of writers, performance artists, musicians, photographers, academics and scientists. In 2011 Floating Land is celebrating its sixth year as a ten day programme of workshops and events, bringing people from across the Asia Pacific together with communities on the Sunshine Coast. The focal venue is Boreen Point at Lake Cootharaba in the UNESCO-listed biosphere of Noosa, with satellite locations at Coolum and Cooroy on the Sunshine Coast.

The 2011 theme for Floating Land was “Water Culture” which aligned well with GhostNets Australia’s motto ‘Saltwater people working together’. There was a large contingent on hand to assist at the workshop. From Darnley Island there was Diann Lui the art centre manager, Lynnette Griffiths the arts advisor, and artists Florence, Maryanne and Nancy; from Moa Island there was Sissi Po and Angela Torenbeek; Sue Ryan and Marion Gaemers from GhostNets Australia and Belinda from Cooroy Butter Factory made ten in total - a genuine rent a crowd. People adored the Islander women who were very open and friendly and welcomed participants to the workshop and got them started on projects. They spoke about ghost nets, about their art and about their communities.

Well over 250 people attended the GhostNet workshops over the ten day period and helped to create the installation on Lake Cootharaba. We ran two workshops with young school groups from neighbouring towns. The school kids made boats out of net, rope and cane which helped form part of the installation. People who joined us made other pieces which were hung from trees, tied to posts, stuck in the sand or placed in the water as part of the installation. Each day we had more and more boat and fish pieces which formed an ever growing installation landscape. Each night the festival held tours where viewers witnessed the GhostNet installation illuminated throughout the trees and on the lake. We all worked on a large collaborative fish boat piece that was also suspended and lit at night. Thousands of people attended the festival and viewed the GhostNet workshops and the installation. Our exhibit and workshops were very popular. We had fantastic support from the SCC and one of the main reasons it worked so well was our big group of wonderful creative generous smiling women. In all it was a rewarding experience for everyone involved. A great time was had by all.

Adapted from a report by Sue Ryan.