2012 Melbourne Festival
Santiago Sierra, Destroyed Word
The opening of the 2012 Melbourne Festival saw the fiery culmination of a 2 year global artistic endeavour by Spanish artist Santiago Sierra.
Live Element was commissioned to design and build a 3.5 meter tall letter K from natural materials that was to burn to nothing in 20 minutes. The organic material was selected to symbolise Australia’s agricultural history and its susceptibility to natural disaster. “Fire has a particular significance to Australia,” Santiago noted. “To its past, present and future.” A prototyping exercise was undertaken to find a suitable natural fuel that would burn down in the required time. Unlike gas or oil fired flames, the natural fuel load burn couldn’t be rehearsed, stopped and reset as required, it had to work the first and only time it was burned.
Set on the forecourt of Melbourne’s ACCA (Australian Centre for Contemporary Art) Santiago’s assistant set fire to the structure which was filmed to then be joined up with 9 other letters to complete Santiago’s work and to form the word KAPITALISM. The completed film piece was on show in the NGV for the duration of the Festival.