Using recycled letterboxes, camera obscura and video Message Obscura is a site-specific installation made for the Park Road Boardwalk, Noosa Heads. The artwork relies on social interaction and curiosity in order to be discovered, with the artist hoping to raise questions for the viewer. Why is there a row of letterboxes as seen on country roads in front of the ocean? Where are the houses? Who do these belong to? What is inside the letterbox? As curiosity sets in and the viewer peers into a letterbox, they will see a flipped image of the landscape – a camera obscura. With the landscape flipped, will the viewer pay more attention? Interspersed are other letterboxes containing rear projection videos, each letterbox housing a new experience for the viewer to explore.
In Australia, collections of country road letterboxes are steeped with nostalgia and familiarity. Nostalgia only occurs because of change. If nothing changed or progressed, nostalgia would not exist. The comfort of the past evokes a longing for time bygone, but what for the future? By using the near defunct letterbox, the artist is sending a letter to her viewer to pay attention. With the landscape as the message, how will the viewer consider the work? Situated in the idyllic surrounds of Little Cove, what is to become of this environment, our nostalgia and connection to place if we do not consider the future?
Amanda Bennetts is a photo media, installation and projection artist residing in both Noosa and Brisbane. Bennetts’ practice is process-driven, focusing on the intersection of art and science and is heavily influenced by the environment and the human body, exploring themes such as fragility, degradation, and disease. Her work often engages with materiality, using scientific apparatus, found objects and chemical processes to investigate the lived experience of chronic illness and degradation.
Bennetts is in her final year at the Queensland College of Art, studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in Photographic Art and Art Theory. She is the Founder and Co-Curator of the 40 Under 40 Exhibition and Art Prize which showcases 40 local artists who are 40 years and under from the Noosa, Sunshine Coasts and Gympie regions. She was selected in the 2021 Undergrowth Exhibition, an invitational exhibition dedicated to showcasing some of the most innovative and conceptually coherent work being produced by Queensland College of Art undergraduate students in Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art, Photography and Fine Art. In 2019 she was selected as a Finalist in the Queensland Regional Art Awards and included in the state-wide touring exhibition. Bennetts’ work has been exhibited in private and regional galleries throughout Queensland.