Transformer acknowledges and respects the palawa/pakana people as the traditional and ongoing owners and custodians of the skies, land and water of lutruwita. We pay our respects to their elders both past and present and acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded.
Transformer is a new permanent artwork by artist Doug Aitken, to be located at Ida Bay in southern Tasmania. DarkLab Pty Ltd (DarkLab) is leading the development and is collaborating with the artist to produce the artwork. DarkLab has submitted development applications for the site for approval with the local council and Parks and Wildlife Services.
Slated for completion in January 2024, the Transformer artwork includes a pavilion with reflective interiors which offers visitors a unique perspective of the Tasmanian world heritage wilderness area. The site will also include a visitor center.
‘Transformer presents an innovative crossover of contemporary art, architecture and ecology,’ Doug Aitken said. ‘Situated at the end of the road in the Huon Valley, the sculpture will function both as a spectacular destination, and a starting point for the visitor to discover the natural landscape of the region.’
Transformer is a new permanent artwork by artist Doug Aitken located at Ida Bay. It involves an enclosed viewing platform with mirrored interiors which provides visitors with a unique space to contemplate the Tasmanian landscape.
Doug Aitken is an American artist known internationally for his unique installations drawing attention to the environment.
The artwork will be located toward the western edge of the Ida Bay State Reserve at 328 Lune River Road, Ida Bay, Tasmania. A modest visitor center will be developed within the site as well as car parking facilities. The development acknowledges the historic significance of the location and does not disturb the Ida Bay Railway infrastructure around the site.
The development follows the successful Tasmanian model of sustainable tourism activity within a state reserve area and aims to deliver shared value for stakeholders along economic, social, cultural and environmental dimensions. The artwork and visitor center respects and highlights the environmental and cultural significance of the area. The development will also benefit the surrounding businesses and nearby attractions by expanding the existing tourism experiences in the region, giving visitors more reasons to stay longer in southern Tasmania.
The project is developed with federal and state government funding and is also supported by David Walsh, the owner of Museum Old and New Art (Mona) and DarkLab.
Around $10million (including the development of the visitor center and car park).
DarkLab has engaged Heritage consultants to ensure the important heritage aspects of the site are maintained. DarkLab has responded to the feedback of the Ida Bay Railway Preservation Society and can confirm that the development does not disturb the Society’s vision of an operating train at some point in the future, nor will the development impact existing railway infrastructure on site.
Applications for development have been lodged with the Huon Valley Council and Parks and Wildlife Services. Pending approvals, and assuming uninterrupted construction, our goal is that Transformer will open in January 2024.
An environmental impact assessment has been completed to ensure that any potential issues are identified and mitigated.
DarkLab has engaged the organisation, Ochre Rain, which has Aboriginal land management expertise to provide advice on the project and secure specific advice on caring for country.
DarkLab has commissioned an economic impact analysis and our advice is that the development will provide $4.2 million value for the region during construction, $4.8 million value for the region ongoing, create 28 new jobs during construction and 28 jobs ongoing.
DarkLab expects the artwork and visitor center to attract 30,000 visitors to the region per annum.
The Huon Valley Council has the right to approve or reject the development application. We anticipate that the Council will make this decision by August 2022.
Yes. We have engaged with local enterprises, community groups and representative organisations and they have indicated their in principle support for the project. These include: Huon Valley Tourism Network, Tahune Adventures Tasmania, Dover and South Action Group, Far South Tasmania, Destination Southern Tasmania and Ochre-Rain.
Artist Doug Aitken said: “Transformer presents an innovative crossover of contemporary art, architecture and ecology. Situated at the end of the road in the Huon Valley, the sculpture will function both as a spectacular destination, and a starting point for the visitor to discover the natural landscape of the region.
“Visitors journey to the Huon Valley to see the artwork and then further their exploration of the natural beauty of the surrounding region. Each and every moment of the sculpture will change continuously with the surrounding light and weather conditions, attracting repeat visits to the region,” Aitken said.
DarkLab is a Hobart-based creative agency founded in 2016 by David Walsh, owner of the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) in Tasmania, Australia, with Creative Director Leigh Carmichael. DarkLab works with a range of collaborators on cultural and commercial developments in Australia and internationally. DarkLab designs and produces the annual Dark Mofo Winter Festival in Hobart, which commenced in 2013.
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We are on the lookout for locals to work at the visitor centre, host the artwork and trades and maintenance staff to contribute to Transformer.
If you live in Tasmania’s far south and would like to be involved in the construction and operation of Transformer, please enter your details below to join our database. If you have what we’re looking for, we’ll be in touch.