Turning Digital Geology Into Art

Leading global engineering and consulting firm Golder, in collaboration with Testing Grounds, is taking a creative approach to engaging with the public, artists, and education institutions to showcase the fascinating geology of the city of Melbourne and its broader arts precinct redevelopments.

Testing Grounds is a temporary space for creative practices encompassing art, performance and design. Tucked away between the Arts Centre and the Australian Ballet Centre in Melbourne’s Southbank, the experimental arts space welcomes artists at all levels to test, develop and share their work, encouraging both creative and education-related activities. Managed by Creative Victoria, the site is the only vacant parcel of land in the area and is slated for development in future.

Golder has been initially engaged by Development Victoria to undertake geotechnical investigations and assess the Testing Grounds site for future development. Known on site as the ‘lovely orange-clad people drilling some holes’, Golder’s experts have adopted the latest digital engineering tools to develop 3D models to present the geology of the site. The main model has been 3D-printed to be featured in the exhibition “Turning Digital Geology into Art: an underground journey into Melbourne’s arts precinct”, along with geological core samples, multimedia and other pieces providing geological information about the site.

As part of the exhibition, Golder commissioned local artist and fashion designer Tarryn Handcock to create an installation in the space, and throughout the site, demonstrating how geological data can be interpreted and applied to other fields of knowledge.

“It’s unbelievable that 800,000 years ago our site was filled with lava from a big volcanic eruption before becoming a riverbank, a swamp, and then a riverbank once again following European settlement,” said Testing Grounds Project Director and Curator, Arie Rain Glorie. “We’re delighted to be partnering with Golder in such a creative way to educate the public on the amazing geology of our site, the arts precinct and the city of Melbourne.”

Andrew Russell, Principal at Golder in Melbourne, said the 3D model produced by the firm presents the geological history of the arts precinct from about 3.5 million years ago. “The Testing Grounds site geology is quite complex and it’s unusual that a 3D ground model with this level of detail can be developed for many projects,” explained Andrew.

“Melbourne’s arts precinct is unique given the level of historic borehole information available as a result of geotechnical investigations undertaken by Golder in the area since 1969, so we’re thrilled to be able to showcase our technical excellence as art and help educate the community.”

Golder has been operating in Melbourne for nearly 50 years, helping clients manage geotechnical challenges of designing tall buildings, roads, railways, tunnels, airports and ports, and delivering environmental services for clients across multiple sectors.

Golder’s exhibition Turning Digital Geology into Art: an underground journey into Melbourne’s arts precinct, is open to the public from 21-30 August at Testing Grounds. Access is free of charge.

For more information, contact: 
Fabio Menezes 
Marketing & Communications Leader – APAC, Golder
+61 437 153 517

Arie Rain Glorie
Program Director and Curator, Testing Grounds
+61 437 929 617

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