Treatment III, an ambitious public art project taking place from March 17 to April 28, seeks to break the stigma associated with Melbourne’s Western Treatment Plant, a vital piece of the city’s infrastructure.
Curated for the third time by Deakin University School of Communication and Creative Arts academics Professor David Cross and Associate Professor Cameron Bishop, the project features art, installations, and performances by more than 20 leading and emerging Australian artists.
Professor Cross highlighted the plant’s 125-year association with Werribee and its surroundings as an employer and its function as a popular birdwatching spot and source of fresh produce from market gardens.
The project includes site-responsive installations, films, sculptures, and performances along the historic Main Sewer Outfall pipeline from Melbourne to Werribee, as well as a music event at the 180-year-old water tower in Cocoroc.
Melbourne Water will also host sessions to demonstrate the wastewater testing process, including how they screened for COVID-19 during the pandemic.
A Sunset to Sunrise showcase at the Western Treatment Plant (Friday, April 21, from 5pm-10pm, and Saturday, April 22, from 6.30am-6pm) will celebrate the day-to-day operations of the plant, its contribution to public health, and the value of wastewater technologies.
The project is sponsored by Melbourne Water and held in partnership with Wyndham City Council, with support from the Westgate Neighbourhood Fund, Hobsons Bay City Council, and Scienceworks.
A digital launch with artist interviews and artwork previews will be held on March 17 and open to the public. Featured artists include Linda Tegg, James Nguyen, Robert Andrew, Zanny Begg, Eugenia Lim, Mick Douglas, Anindita Banerjee, Peter Burke, Fiona Hillary, Georgina Lewis, Edwina Stevens, Rogue Academy, and creatives from the Wyndham and Wadawurrung communities.
Melbourne Water Head of the Western Treatment Plant Alanna Wright said the project was a great opportunity to spotlight the plant’s rich history. “It’s a place where sewage treatment, agriculture, biodiversity, resource recovery, education, and ecotourism all come together,” she said. “We’re excited to be shining a light on this important, yet underrated, part of Melbourne’s infrastructure.”
More details: www.treatment3.org.au