Rethinking mine remediation as transformative experimental art

In the last two decades, a number of innovative artist-led projects have developed through collaborations between artists, architects, landscape architects, curators, scientists, engineers and communities. These projects in Europe and North America have involved the remediation and regeneration of former mining sites, which are contaminated and often environmentally depleted. The creation of parks, community gardens, exhibition spaces (both indoor and outdoor) and art parks on land that has been damaged through mining has provided opportunities to rehabilitate not only the land, but also the community that mining has impacted. The confluence of art, environmental technology and social engagement on these sites acts as a remedy of sorts, a new form of experimental, transdisciplinary practice which is transformative in the broadest sense, simultaneously benefiting both environment and community. In this long-form review, we examine examples of these projects, which have resulted in significant transformations. In examining them, we ask what possibilities might exist for similar projects in Australia. The prevalence of derelict mine sites in our country might be recast as a creative opportunity in this new field of artistic practice.

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