The Unknowable

The Unknowable

Video Installation • 2017

Public art commission for Wynyard Station, Sydney

The Unknowable

The Unknowable is a mediation on our changing relationship to nature in a globalised, disconnected virtual world we now so effectively navigate through digital media.

The work shows five distinct virtual plant forms, evolved using custom computer software that mimics biological evolution and development. Each of the five forms is derived from plant species native and significant to the Sydney region.

The plants slowly disintegrate, decomposing into their fundamental structural component – the polygon – then reform anew in an endless cycle of destruction and reconstitution.

Playing on contemporary global anxieties such as terrorism, biodiversity loss, digital fragmentation and the looming spectre of climate change, The Unknowable is a lament for that which we can never really know: our nature.

The work usually screens in September and October each year at Wynyand Syation (York St entrance), Sydney.

Triptych Video Version (2015)

Prior to developing the version for Wynyard a three-screen video triptych was produced. Designed for 3 x UHD (4k) monitors in portrait format, this version, developed in 2015 is shorter in duration and contains fewer evolved virtual plant forms than the Wynyard station version.

The Unknowable by Jon McCormack

Production Credits

Concept, programming, animation

CGI Lighting Director

Production facility

Wynscreen curator

Project Management

Jon McCormack

Quan Tran

SensiLab, Monash University

Alessio Cavallaro

Cultural Capital