Concept slides for Landcare Conference

AC: “Our vision is to involve and unite communities from a broad background of disciplines to create an icon that promotes consciousness about ‘caring for country’. Re-connecting to country with a deep time awareness of our role as custodians in bringing species and ecosystems back into balance. This project brings communities together. It tells about ecological knowledge and of how we as a multi-cultural people care for country. So, within these sculptures there are many stories, which will be retold that brings everybody into the spirituality of treading the footprints of our ancient people”.
Our objective for this presentation is that by the end of this conference we will have been contacted by 100 people who are interested in discussing the possibility of our project commencing in there region which may lead to an Augmented Reality Genestreams modeling project getting started first and then possibly at a later stage a physical Genestreams Songlines Sculpture being established in a local park. The Augmented Reality sculptures can be located anywhere in the bush without the costs of physical construction. To express your interest please email us at The Genestreams Songlines Sculptures initiative is a nationwide multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural project. A big driver is not just environment and community, its our future too. We firstly want to say that all of our planets natural environments are special. The environment that you are personally engaged in protecting is special. It has unique flora and fauna, its geology is sublime, the culture is deep. We believe that more people should know about your region, what makes it special, what are the threats facing it and how they can get involved in the conservation efforts to protect it. We can tell you that the Genestreamer modeling which has the potential to extend into a Genestreams Songlines Sculpture is here to help.

AC: In my time I’ve witnessed much of the land clearing of the South West. In recent times I’ve witnessed what it takes to heal the land. The ingredients to healing the land are conservation, science and harmonious multi-cultural identities working together and I envisaged a public art program that would speak to the combination of conservation, science and multi-culture. Australia is a multi-cultural country. I am a multi-cultural person. When I was young I had to hide from people who were trying to take me away from my parents because I had a white father and an Aboriginal mother but that’s not the case today. Today we value our multi-cultural identity because it gives us strength. In 2017 I asked visiting artist Ben Beeton who had come to work with Gondwana Link if he could see a way that we could connect these contributing elements into the foundations for a public art program.

BB: Aunty Carols request in relation to developing the design foundations for a public art program that would share information on local conservation efforts, scientific research and culture was unique. Up until the time of this life changing request, since 2006 I’d been undertaking artist residency projects around Australia on the ecology, geology and deep time history of natural systems and sharing the scientific research and conservation efforts that I learnt about during my artist residency projects on my website When I began this journey I created the painting 590 Million Years on a Flat Surface to help me comprehend deep time. In it one centimeter represents one million years and each panel represents a different period of geological time. Later on, during an artist residency project at Uluru I refined tools which enabled me to see inside phylogenetic trees enabling me to simultaneously view individuals of the same genestream in different periods of geological time, as seen in my painting Un-Earthing Uluru. Through the project Iwara of the Super Continents. I participated in modelling the super continent cycle in space-time which I expressed through collaborations with indigenous and non-indigenous artists. In 2016 I commenced a project called following the Leeuwin Current. I intended to follow the Leeuwin Current from the Kimberly to Tasmania creating one large journal drawing. I began the project at Windjana Gorge in the Kimberly and over the following years I followed the Leeuwin Current along the coast through a sequence of artist residency projects. When I reached Albany the drawing that I had started in the Kimberly had grown to over 30 meters in length. It was experiences I had with the people that I met through the Gondwana Link organization transpired to change the direction of my life. In the Stirling Ranges I was introduced to Banksia Montana of which I was there were less then 30 individuals remaining.

BB: At the completion of my artist residency project in consultation with Gondwana Link in Albany I travelled with Aunty Carol out to Wave Rock. On that journey through the wheat belt I was confronted by one of the worst examples of ecological destruction that I had ever experienced. You can see it for yourself in this satellite image. Everything in yellow is the cleared land. If you want to learn how this happened watch the documentary A Million Acres a Year. It was the next day at Wave Rock, on my birthday that I swore that there would be no more artist residency projects until I had partnered with a University to develop the Tree of Life teaching tools that I had designed which I called Genestreams.

BB: I’d been modeling data on the Tree of Life to improve my visual literacy on the subject of visualizing conservation in the context of deep time and preferred future since the mid 1990’s. How to visualize this the connectivity of all life and then, utilize this visualization, for conservation purposes was the question that had inspired the creation of many of my artworks and designs. I began the development of Genestreams at the Australian National University in 2019. As a proof of concept for a Genestreamer website that was intended to broaden peoples awareness of conservation through interactive experiences within the Tree of Life my team developed 4 virtual reality Genestreamer teaching modules which delivered content supplied by ANU professors from a variety of schools . The project enjoyed considerable support at ANU until the impact of Covid landed which resulted in the closer of hundreds of innovative projects including my own. During this time I had been sending Aunty Carol and Gondwana Link ideas for a design for the sculpture that could share conservation, science and culture as envisaged by Aunty Carol but it wasn’t until I used one of the interactive Genestreams models that I had designed to assist communities to comprehend and bring natural systems back into balance as the foundations for the sculpture that everything fell into place.
This model was designed to:
1 – Show people where in the geological time scale species within the same ecosystem shared common ancestry
2 – Tell the story of each species over the past couple of hundred years and show the status of each species in the present day
3 – Plan out recovery programs for the species into the future
Our objective is to launch later this year. Through which this tool and many others will be available to the public. To me a Genestreamer is a person who recognizes that from a source of shared ancestry every species has its own unique Genestream story that we can learn from, and utilizes interactive models of the Tree of Life to engage in multi-generational conservation practices.

BB: In the foundational stages for developing a Genestreams model and potential sculpture we research the threatened and endemic species in the region in question. Through community consultation we then construct a circular evolutionary tree base plate of that visualizes the shared ancestry of 16 regional species including the human species. Each ring represents a different period of geological time and the outer ring is the present. This is the first step in making part of your regions unique deep time story visible. Like a thumbprint, each model is unique. When a person enters a sculpture they are entering a giant evolutionary tree which maps the shared ancestry of 16 selected regional species including the humans, on entry the individual represents the whole of humanity.

AC: I think its clear to most of us that the only viable long term solution to saving endangered species lies in saving the systems that the species evolved through. Our project seeks to participate in promoting this awareness. In Western Australia in 2021 we launched our first Genestreams Songlines Sculpture at Twin Creeks and tested our first Augmented Reality Genestreams Songlines Sculpture at Mt Magnet in the local park. In Queensland in 2022 we launched our second Genestreams Songlines Sculpture in the Bunya Mountains. The Genestreams Songlines Sculptures are a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural initiative. Its not just an Augmented Reality or Physical sculpture that you visit, it’s a learning porthole, it’s a time machine, it’s a means of connecting and participating in caring for country. This new educational approach visualizes and connects us to the natural world and to each other. Through public art we offer a two-way narrative experience. Just as a pancake has two sides, so too does this sculpture. On the inside it features field naturalist art about the region. On the outside it features the work of Aboriginal artists of the region. The sculptures teach us about local conservation initiatives in the region, scientific knowledge of the region and culture in the region. Anyone, regardless of their ethnic background is welcome to contact us to start a project or be involved, we only ask that you are passionate about caring for your country.

AC: The artworks you can see here were created by the local contributing artists from Twin Creeks, Mount Magnet and the Bunya Mountains. We hope that through the sculptures people with an interest in Aboriginal art will come to understand that our culture is about conservation. There are many worthwhile conservation initiatives that struggle through lack of access to funding. Our vision is that you can create tours of augmented reality and physical sculptures about the ecology and culture of your region which may participate in generating revenue to help support to your conservation work, perhaps the people who go on the tour could contribute in the conservation work, perhaps they could be self guided tours.

BB: I invited renowned scientific illustrator Mali Moir to collaborate with me in the development of the artworks for the Genestreams Models. I met Mali when I was the artist for the Burke and Wills Environmental Expedition which travelled in the footsteps of Burke and Wills from Melbourne to the gulf. Mali had commenced a project with her students at Menindee Lakes drawing and re-collecting the plants that Dr. Hermann Beckler collected who was the Naturalist with Burke and Wills. This project continued for 10 years. In Mali’s words she has an interest in projects that encourage us to cherish the land, train ourselves to slow down, pay attention and develop a love for country.

BB: Here you can see some of our field naturalist artworks for the sculptures. A strong objective of this project is community participation at all levels. This includes all people who have an interest in contributing their observations of nature into a Genestreams artwork about the region in which they live. Many of us have an interest in documenting nature be it through words, numbers or pictures because it solidifies our experience into something valuable for sharing across different disciplines and communities. Your observations recorded through your journaling are valuable to people in the future. We believe in the ability to strengthen communication lines through this current revival of the nature journaling movement. Nature journaling has no restrictions in age or skill level, people of all ages and from broad interests can have an important presence through this simple practice of noting down what they see. We are passionate about school participation in this project, as it teaches the values of observing nature which in turn develops compassion for other species and the natural environment that supports us all. Our vision is that the Augmented Reality sculptures will become a historical museum of journal field notes created by the community that can be continually added to year after year, generation after generation.

BB: At Mount Magnet for the Astro Rocks Festival we connected the stories of the night sky to the stories of the rocks and traced the journey of Australia’s ancient cratons across the planet over billions of years through the super continent cycle. During our project, scientific illustrator Mali Moir held a series of six workshops teaching local people the foundation skills of scientific illustration and plant collecting/pressing and I introduced the students to his way of seeing landscapes as natural systems. The outcome of the workshops resulted in the students attaining a higher skill level and being familiar with the methodology that we use to create the Genestreams Artworks for the Genestreams Songlines Sculpture. We then offered our students the opportunity to have one of their artworks featured in the Genestreams artwork and be listed as a contributor. When we develop a Genestreams artwork we provide a resource bank accessible to the whole community. The resource bank is titled The Art of Nature Journaling, Herbarium Foundations and Photography.

AC: When we tested our first Augmented Reality model at Mount Magnet we also added all of the artworks from the sculpture together into one digital mural which is on permanent display in the Mount Magnet visitors center. This stimulated similar high levels of interest and discussion. There are now firm proposals for more Augmented Reality projects. The advantage of using Augmented Reality is that enables any community to commence a project with us without installing a physical sculpture.

AC: The present ecological and cultural situation in a word is fragmentation. Brought about through the monetization of ecological destruction. The proven solution is ecological and multicultural restoration by growing connectivity through conservation initiatives in communities that can help grow new industries. We increase connectivity awareness that inspires action through tools that facilitate participation. We encourage the coupling of science with self guided eco-tourism that celebrates a multi-cultural approach to conservation through an experience of visual literacy tools that help us build our preferred future that we want to leave as a legacy for our children.

BB: Once complete the goal of our new website will be to accelerate the comprehension of ecological challenges through visual literacy and provide actionable step by step on country solutions into the future. We aim to develop a combination of physical and Augmented Reality sculptures that will form tourism trails across Australia increasing awareness of regional conservation, science and culture and contribute to a national eco-tourism trail. To achieve cultural and ecological restoration our project will enable people to adopt species through Genestreamer modeling that they can act to protect. Caring for country in the microcosm contributes to caring for the continent and planet in the macrocosm. Genestreamer modeling offers the means of viewing the health of the Tree of Life in your region. By bringing the genestreams of country back into balance we contribute to bringing the living end of the Tree of Life into balance. We invite you to initiate a Genestreamer modeling project in your region which can potentially in time lead to the development of a Genestreams Songlines Sculpture project in your region.

AC: Intelligence should not fragment natural systems, on the contrary, it should nurture them. We need to do more than observe, we need to apply tools that enhance cultural and ecological. restoration. We have, in effect, ‘ground proofed’ the Genestreams Songlines Sculpture approach, achieved very strong community response, with groups wanting to be part of a larger program, developed efficient community support systems, and are now ready to take the approach much wider. This meshes with the broader ecological needs identified above, and re-affirmed by every national and international environmental condition report of the past 20-30 years.

From early childhood to legacy sharing, caring for country is all about caring for the Genestreams of Country and this is how we can share the story. When we can see how we are part of nature we are more likely to protect it. We present the Genestreams of species as totems to be cared for by local people to nurture connectivity.

And this is where you come in, think about your region, what animal and plants do you want to protect? What are the important issues in your area that you are working to resolve and you would like people to learn about through Genestreams. We’d love you to email us at to express your interest in starting a project in your region. Imagine that by 2025 a combination of physical and augmented reality sculptures are plotting out conservation, science, cultural and natural systems trails all across Australia and simultaneously, through growing a global web of sculptures connected to the genestreamer online learning and teaching tools we are bringing people into an awareness of the threatened species in their region. Wouldn’t that be amazing.

compress and expand the axis of space-time in order to

They start with the study of the shared ancestry of selected species through deep time, these are the Genestreams models which once researched and rendered invite local participation from all of the community.

So, what is a genestream. We are all familiar with a Gene pool, well, a genestream is the sum total of a species ancestral gene pools through time. A Genestream is a story of heredity flowing through bio-space-time within the Tree of Life.

I believe that modeling of the Tree of Life is a massively under utilized resource tool for visually comprehending the connectivity health of an ecosystem, communicating what actions need to be undertaken to restore natural systems and keeping a record of conservation actions and objectives year after year, generation after generation. Using field work data we make the ecological situation visible through Genestreamer modeling and then through conservation actions we grow the model through time into our preferred future.

None of us want to hear that because grant money ran out worthwhile conservation work in a region stopped. What can we do to keep our conservation work financially sustainable.

Accessible on country and online from anywhere in the world.

As we are all custodians of the living end of the Tree of Life, I believe that our role is to keep the genestreams flowing through time. Starkly, when a species’ genestream stops flowing that species becomes extinct. Many genestreams in Australia have stopped flowing in recent times because the species, that were the expressions of these genestreams were unable to adapt to the massive environmental changes that we imposed on them, for the same reason, many more species across Australia and across the world are now in decline.

To fulfill this goal we have commenced the development of the website