Grasslands is a living installation by artist Linda Tegg that aims to recreate the vast grass plains that stretched over Melbourne before the State Library of Victoria was established in the mid-nineteenth century.
Researching the original flora of the site, Tegg found that most available information was interpretative, from Victorian landscape paintings to illustrated maps. Looking to expand her sources of knowledge, Tegg collaborated with horticulturist John Delpratt and the University of Melbourne to source, grow and nurture over 15,000 indigenous plants and grasses that would have once thrived in the area.
The result is a transformation of history and nature by artistic imagination, inviting us to visualise the layers of memory and place.
Umlaut created a simple, elegant word mark to represent the lightness and delicacy of the grasses in the installation. This was matched with a typographic interpretation of the full-species list, both their common and scientific names, turned on its side to represent a field of grass.
Umlaut designed and built a website to promote Grasslands before its installation and to explain the thinking and development behind the project. Other promotional materials were also created including t-shirts worn by volunteers during the exhibition.
As part of a social media campaign run by the State Library visitors were asked to submit photos of their experiences on Instagram, which were then collected and presented on the website as a visual response to the installation.
Grasslands received an overwhelmingly positive response from the public. It garnered widespread media coverage, instigated a number of other activities, such as public lectures and scientific studies, and was encountered by over 170,000 people.
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