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Urban Heat Islands

Urban Heat Islands
Advanced Diploma of Visual Arts students from Nepean Arts and Design Centre have been working in conjunction with Penrith City Council and multi-media artist Peta Khan to create works responding to the idea of the Urban Heat Island Effect, where urban areas absorb heat and release it back into their surroundings, creating islands of increased temperatures. The increase in roadways and built structures, and the removal of trees and other vegetation all contribute to this.

For many of these artists this is an issue that strikes close to their heart. Here in the west of Sydney, they find themselves in an area always several degrees warmer than their coastal counterparts. It is also an area experiencing rapid growth, where new housing developments are forming islands of their own.

The resulting  video work on show at the Dame Joan Sutherland centre in Penrith is a compilation of pieces which range from local actions and interventions, to personal articulations and reflections, to pieces which engage with a larger environmental focus, showing concern with climate change, urbanisation and deforestation in general. The tree is a key feature in many of these works, as a symbol of cool refuge from the heat of our cities.

Creating works for video was a new experience for the artists, many of whom were more accustomed to traditional 2D disciplines, but one which was embraced enthusiastically as a collaboration between themselves and multi-media artist Peta Khan. Students were asked to respond to an initial brief and develop works suitable for video projection, and Peta had the challenging task of working with these pieces and knitting them into a cohesive whole.

The final video piece was screened at the ‘On Islands’ art festival at Eramboo in Terrey Hills, and will be screened at The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre until December 17th from 7:30pm each night.

Jo Newton – project c

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