The White Building – Tapestries

Works created during a residency at the White Building, Phnom Penh, 2014. Supported by Sa Sa Art Projects.

The single greatest issue facing the residents of the White Building is housing security.  As Cambodia rapidly urbanises, it is the urban poor that are forcibly removed from their homes to make way for shiny new apartment towers they cannot afford.  During a residency at the building, McCracken chatted to the residents of the building about their housing concerns and asked them to teach her how to cross stitch.  The cross stitching of pictorial tapestries was a popular hobby during McCracken’s stay and an effective way to connect with the residents of the White Building. Moving away from the images provided in the tapestry kits, McCracken stitched the grates, bricks and vents that residents had added to the building to make it an effective home.  She then gifted these small bespoke tapestries to some of the residents she got to know.


The White Building – Light Workshop

Light Workshop with residents of the White Building, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 2014. Supported by Sa Sa Art Projects.

During a residency at the White Building (a medium density apartment complex for working class Cambodian’s) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, McCracken worked with members of Sa Sa Art projects, and the children that lived in the building, to create costumes filled with LEDs.  Due to their lack of light the hallways of the White Building are considered unsafe and are one of the few areas that children do not play.  By filling the dark hallways with their lit costumes the children filled these spaces with light and laughter.  Over a couple of hours, the participants played glow stick hopscotch, danced an exuberant conga-line, and skipped to the beat of an LED rope, all within the apartment complexes tight, internal hallways.

Our Place

Our Place, 2014. Two-month residency in Fawkner, Melbourne. Conceived, written and illustrated by Clare McCracken, photography by Pia Johnson. Supported by Moreland City Council and North Western Mental Health.

In 2014, artist Clare McCracken and photographer Pia Johnson, spent two months exploring Fawkner, a suburb in Melbourne, Australia. This artist book documents the people they interviewed, the stories they collected, the photos they took and the illustrations they drew. It is a record of the people, objects, architecture and stories that make Fawkner unique – the narratives of place.


Josie and the Constellations

Josie and the Constellations, 2014. Temporary installation on Dadenong's PEP Building. Supported by the City of Greater Dandenong, Places Victoria and Cogent Energy.

For thousands of years cultures have looked at the night sky, drawing lines between the stars to create constellations.  For each culture these shapes have shifted and changed to reflect, both the objects in their immediate surroundings, and the myths that dominate their identity. Josie and the Constellations playfully looks at the constellations of the past, while imagining both the observation deck, and constellations, of contemporary suburban Australia.

My Place, Your Place, Our Place

My Place, Your Place, Our Place, a public art intervention designed to celebrate the launch of the City of Greater Dandenong’s new Civic Buildings, Library and Square. Supported by the City of Greater Dandenong, 2014.

Public seating is designed so it can only be occupied for a short periods of time. The My Place, Your Place, Our Place cushion project encouraged the residents of Dandenong to claim their public space, and to sit for as long as they wanted.  300 hand-crafted Cushions were scattered throughout the square, and handed out to visitors over the six-hour period of the Civic Centre launch, ensuring that they could sit and enjoy the free public events at the Square, for as long as they wanted, in comfort.


The Locker Room

A moving, immersive, mixed media, performance installation, exploring the imprint of violence against women by bringing one woman’s dark and unsettling story to life.  Designed to grow over time and explore the stories of other survivors when relaunched, the work explores the loss, courage and resilience of women and families exposed to violence and encourages audience members to reexamine what they see, hear and believe.

Originally commissioned by Knox City Council and exhibited at the Knox Festival in 2014 but re-exhibited by the City of Casey, City of Boroondara and the City of Manningham. Designer, writer and key collaborator Clare McCracken // Creative Producer Jeremy Angerson // Director Naja Kostich // Sound Designer Michael Carmody // Lighting Designer Rachel Burke.

A Tale of a Turtle About the Square

A Tale of a Turtle About the Square, a collaborative project with Federation Square and filmmaker Katie Astrinakis from Catch the Bird Productions. Supported by Federation Square, 2013.

In the late eighteen hundreds, Charles Baudelaire felt that the traditional arts were inadequate when it came to expressing and engaging with the complications of his rapidly industrializing city.  Baudelaire argued that artists should immerse themselves in the metropolis and become ‘a botanist of the sidewalk’.  The tool for this interaction was the flâneur – a way of strolling through the city aimlessly ‘in order to experience it’ or to walk at the pace of a tortoise.  Adopting these concepts, and reflecting on the safety of the female body in Melbourne’s streets post Jill Meagher’s violent death,  McCracken became part tortoise, part dandy and strolled slowly, observing and recording Melbourne from Federation Square to the International Airport, the Melbourne Ports and finally, 30km up the Yarra River to Darebin Creek. Her observations were then turned into an artist book, and film, that were handed out by the artist throughout November, 2013 at Federation Square while the film played on the Squares big screen. To view film follow this link:


Spinning Yarns

Spinning Yarns, a collaborative project with Knox City Council, director Nadja Kostich, filmmaker Michael Carmody and senior residents of Knox. Completed for the Stringybark Sustainability Festival, 2013.

A project about place, life stories and practice, Spinning Yarns combined immersive installation with live performance, documentary filmmaking, photography and images to demonstrate and share the skills of older residents.  Spinning, knitting, fine timber work, metal work, farming and preserving were just some of the many skills on display. Supported by Knox City Council, Stamford Park Men’s Shed, Knox and District Woodworkers Club, Waterford Park, Spinning Yarns, TTHA and residents of the City of Knox.

Urban Lab Manifestation

Urban Lab Manifestation. Supported by the City of Melbourne and RMIT University, 2013.

In 2013 the City of Melbourne commissioned RMIT Art in Public Space to explore perceptions of safety in Hosier and Rutledge Lanes in Melbourne, using socially engaged art practice. As one of the commissioned artists, McCracken explored the safety of the female body and its standing in the lane before creating and performing in the lane as Beth McGarey – part dandy and part endangered species – a character that, under the weight of her shell, walked slow enough to engage with the passerby, exploring their relationship to the site and their perceptions of safety in Melbourne.  During this performance work a taxi driver called Wazza was paid to look for the giant tortoise within Melbourne’s CBD.  Despite looking for over an hour Wazza failed his quest a comantry on the relationship between pedestrians and cars in public spaces.  Research/Curatorial Team: Fiona Hillary, Geoff Hogg, Elizabeth Grierson, Michaela Hartland. Photographer: Michael  Meneghetti.  Supported by the City of Melbourne and RMIT University, 2013.