Reed Vessel 2004
stainless steel, aluminium louvers, recycled plastic decking, aluminium, bronze castings
Dimensions (H x W x D)
1800 x 650 x 250 cm
Commissioned by VicUrban (now Development Victoria) and later transferred to the City of Melbourne
City of Melbourne Art and Heritage Collection
Location: Navigation Dr, Docklands
The airy, metaphorical form of 'Reed Vessel' is achieved through the joining of more than 300 stainless-steel pieces into a canoe form. It sits upon a cradle created by two louvered water screens, down which water gently flows and through which a fine mist is emitted. The screens are etched with the words of Australian writers and poets, quotations related to the river and the sea, to memory and the passing of time. A pedestrian bridge forms part of the work, taking passers-by across the pool and through the base of the cradle.
The maritime nature of the work acknowledges the history of the site and embraces the themes of migration, passage and survival. The area on which it is located was once extensive tidal wetlands, which provided abundant food and spiritual connections to the area for its traditional owners. The basket-like vessel also symbolises a container in which memories are held – memories of the undeveloped site and its traditional uses, but also of the ocean journeys that have brought early settlers and later generations of migrants to these shores.