Objects testify is a community-engaged program exploring the colonial legacies of Australia's built environment and its ongoing impact on First Nations communities, led by Wiradjuri anti-disciplinary artist Joel Sherwood Spring.
Objects testify provokes an understanding of architecture as not just the built environment, but the digital and social technologies that propel extraction of raw material from the mine to the materiality of social life. Sherwood Spring describes ‘digging’ as the foremost colonial technique that makes all other colonial forms of exploitation possible.
The program features Joel Sherwood Spring’s video work Diggermode (2022) alongside loaned objects from public and private collections, including the Powerhouse Collection, that seek to illustrate the technologies of extraction and the ideologies propelling extractive practices.
Diggermode questions the social and environmental ethics of technology used in constructing, storing and sharing images, whether in surveillance databases, museum archives or online. The work considers the problems arising from new technologies giving open access to cultural belongings and documentation of Indigenous peoples.
A program of closed and public conversations between First Nations community, scholars, artists, architects and designers will explore key themes of Diggermode and consider new forms of testimony.