In mid-2012 MCR and MAB started working toward the realization of `Monument Park’ – a space between New Quay Promenade and `The Quays’ apartments to address the negative perceptions of the Docklands area. The ambition was to readdress retail, to provide shelter, to engage all ages, be playful, provide somewhere to sit and be `Art’. The artist Callum Morton’s submission was chosen and the collaboration was further enhanced by the inclusion of the landscape Architect Occulus. The rest of the description of the project is best served by quoting Callum’s `opening’ speech. ` ….about this place we have made here? First of all it is important to say that this is not a park with sculptures in it which some might be tempted to say, rather it’s one work that is a public park, a type of garden, a place to congregate, to sit, to shelter and play in. These forms that rise out of the ground and the plants that emerge through it, are underneath one plane that has been laid across the whole site. And this ground plane is in the end the true subject and unifying element…….’
Indeed from the beginning the idea was to create an artificial topography that would rise and fall across the site, and that this changing topography would create opportunities to open up new worlds, above, between, below and through the ground.
The Docklands plan is inextricably linked to the great grid of Melbourne. Together, MCR and Occulus explored the idea of using the original Hoddle Grid and its subdivisions as the pattern for the terrain, referred to as the ‘concrete rug’ that was laid across the site. The team began to explore the public sculptures around the city and used some of these monuments as hidden forms, as objects from the archive, which when placed under the rug would contribute to a new topography.
These monuments were 3D scanned to produce 3D computer models which were then placed strategically under the rug. Once fixed, holes were broken into surface of the rug to create internal 3D gridded surfaces. At other points the ground plane of the rug is opened up where parts of the landscape are eating its way through the decaying surface.
‘So there you have it. Some founding fathers, a guy throwing a hammer and an abstract sculpture by a father – Burke and Wills, Matthew Flinders, Adam Lindsay Gordon, Pathfinder, Captain Cook, the Marquis of Linlithgow and Vault – are all covered and rising up from underneath the concrete and look a bit like funny ghosts or Dementors from Harry Potter.’