Goodwood Youth is a group of young people ranging in age from kindergarten to early high school, meeting on Friday afternoons at the Goodwood Community Centre. Some have grown up in the Goodwood area, some are new to the island. To explore the idea of Utopia we began with the question: What in the world right now do we have to be thankful for? We created collages of words, drawings, and magazine pictures, which we then cut up to create a tree-shaped mural on a wall in the centre hall. This remained as a point of reference over the four weekly, and two school-holiday workshops.

We then set about to build a three-dimensional artwork representing a tree form. We talked about what trees do, why they are important, and how we can better relate to them; introducing the idea of a more-than-human-worldview. Delving into the world of plastics we discovered that trees that died millions of years ago formed the oil we extract to make plastic today (currently plastics account for 10% of oil use; but from 2020 to 2040, plastics are expected to represent 95% of the net growth in oil use). To use plastics to create our tree, we are showing its many uses, and, consequentially, our dependence on it. Like a tree is connected to fungal networks (the wood-wide-web); so, too, we are connected to the world wide web, held together with plastic.

Readied with these ideas, we set about to build our tree. Each workshop we assembled materials to form parts of a whole. This involved playing with materials and experimenting with techniques. Although each piece of the puzzle was individually crafted, together, they meld uniquely. We made smaller temporary installations to give us an idea of how the final installation would appear. Bearing in mind the parts needed to be transported and stored easily, it was necessary to consider the method of construction and the size of parts. Some could be boxed up, some could be rolled up. Thought was also given to the end-life for the materials. We estimate 90% of it will be reusable (eg. toys) or recyclable (eg. copper wire, plastic containers).

Lead Artists: Indigo Garcia, Andy Vagg

Participating Artists: Axel, Elliot, Monica, Oesshi, Rakin, Rosie, Taz, Tom, Zia.

Special thanks: Margaret and the Playgroup for collecting materials; Eliza and Julia for hosting Goodwood Goodtimes; Kylie, Carmel, Bec; Icky, Resource Work Cooperative supplying cables.

Goodwood Goodtimes youth program at Goodwood Community Centre is supported by Arts Tasmania Community grant 2022.

Utopia Now was a part of Winter Light, a new arts festival created and presented by Salamanca Arts Centre to celebrate the end of winter and the coming of new life and light.

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