Immersion Builds Connection

Progress image of the Wang Wen-Chih WFF project. Photograph by Corrie Wright.

Immersion Builds Connection

Corrie Wright

1 February 2014

eARTh emag was intrigued about what it was like to be a volunteer for the Wang Wen-Chih Woodford Folk Festival sculpture project. Interdisciplinary artist Corrie Wright provided the answer...

Woodford Folk Festival (WFF) has offered me untold opportunities to participate over the 18 years I have been to the festival. Every year there is a highlight and this year the festival had not even started when I received my special moment in time. What made this project special? The finished outcome was ambitious. Wen-Chih’s vision to create a large-scale installation in three weeks with his band of trusty assistants, wife (interpreter) and daughter along with a team of 30 volunteers was courageous.

Strong teams of dedicated people can only achieve projects like Wen-Chih’s and WFF always has its fair share of committed individuals. In combination with WFF, Kate McDonald and the Cave Urban’s experienced team led by Nici Long, this large-scale installation was possible. Nici and her three adult children, Jed, Ned and Honey were skilled and flexible coordinators adding the right amount of direction, large amounts of care, watermelon and treats keeping the mostly young team of volunteers from all over Australia and the world going as they undertook hard, repetitive work in very hot conditions.

The finished result, although spectacular, is only part of the story. The process was rigorous, cutting, splitting and shucking bamboo; cutting, digging and fixing pine pole frames and weaving thousands of bamboo strips. Everyone could vary their own input and build new skills daily and repeat them over and over!

Was it worth it? What Wang Wen-Chih and his merry band achieved was a beautiful immersive structure to be enjoyed by many. Hard work and dedicated individuals quickly build powerful connections and the sheer delight and satisfaction at the end was very tangible. Would I do it all again? In a flash, yes, if they would have me!

Read Wang Wen-Chih's biography

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