Floating Land: at the edge of ideas


This year’s Floating Land is the eleventh iteration of the biennial outdoor sculpture festival based in Noosa Heads. Anchored by sites at Boreen Point and the Point Road Boardwalk, the latter stretching into the Noosa National Park, the festival revels in the gorgeous natural surrounds for which the town is famous.

While Noosa Regional Gallery director Michael Brennan is used to working on indoor exhibitions, he’s been excited to extend into the landscape in curating his second Floating Land festival. Encompassing over 30 diverse works in total, many of the installations are waterside and respond to local conditions—from Natalie Ryan’s A Fever of Sting Rays, situated just below the surface of Lake Cootharaba at Boreen Point, to a ‘ballet’ of black swans made from old car tyres (Black Swan Theory by Fabrizio Biviano) drifting across that same lake.

Look a bit deeper, though, and it’s clear that Brennan’s selected theme— ‘at the edge of ideas’—moves beyond landscape into the realm of thought itself. “I am very interested in the way ideas can bump up against each other, and also the way they can transform from thought into action, especially in an environmental context,” he says. “I wanted a theme to hang the event off, but one that was open enough for people to interpret as they wish. That is perhaps where ‘the edge of ideas’ begins.”

Brennan notes that Noosa has been recognised as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 2007, so the two Floating Land sites are especially significant. “I am interested in how humanity can live in harmony with the environment and there has been a lot of preservation of the environment here, through activism and strong political will. Hopefully Floating Land taps into that history and entrenches it in people’s minds.”

Floating Land: at the edge of ideas
Noosa Heads region
9 October—24 October

This article was originally published in the September/October 2021 print edition of Art Guide Australia.

Preview Words by Andrew Stephens