Tunnelling 2021

HAMER, Michelle

Registration number



HAMER, Michelle



Production date



hand-stitching, mixed wool on perforated plastic

Dimensions (H x W x D)

51 x 67 cm

Credit line

Donation of Metro Tunnel Creative Project,
City of Melbourne Art and Heritage Collection
© Courtesy of the artist, photography courtesy of Narelle Wilson


Michelle Hamer, 2021, Tunnelling, cross-stitch, Metro Tunnel, infrastructure, Tunnel Boring Machines


This intricate cross-stitch by Michelle Hamer is a part of the Metro Tunnel Creative Project Donation received by the Art and Heritage Collection in 2023. The work was featured as a part of the exhibition 'Making the Metro Tunnel: Reflections by Contemporary Australian Artists' which took place at Domain House from 1 April - 7 May 2023.

Hamer has translated photographs of Tunnel Boring Machines into a detailed artwork. Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) are used to excavate tunnels and can bore through a variety of ground conditions, from hard rock to sand. Four TBMs were used to create the Metro Tunnel's twin nine kilometre tunnels. Each TBM was 7.28m in diameter, 120m long and weighed more than 1,000 tonnes.

Commissioned by the Metro Tunnel Creative Program, the exhibition sought to "explore and celebrate the construction milestones of the Metro Tunnel Project, which has been under construction for several years. The artists in this exhibition have taken inspiration from archaeological digs, heavy machinery, the aesthetics of worksites and worker's equipment to produce their own portrayals of the project." - quote from 'Making the Metro Tunnel' exhibition catalogue, 2023

"These two works explore the majesty of the Metro Tunnel Project. They capture a fleeting moment in time, as the enormous tunnel boring machine makes its way deep beneath Melbourne, through a restricted zone. Chosen from an archive of classified construction images this pair of works becomes an artefact. They dually honour the tunnel construction project as a historic event whilst celebrating its ecstatic futuristic dream as the cutterhead of the machine appears to glow, launched into a space-like orbit before fading into the distance, leaving the majesty of the freshly honed tunnel in its wake. Each stitch/pixel within this piece required careful consideration to capture a sense of movement of the rotating forms within an exacting grid." - Michelle Hamer, quote from 'Making the Metro Tunnel' exhibition catalogue, 2023