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ARTIST & WORDS: Orson Heidrich

PHOTOGRAPHY: Thomas Mccammon

When my artworks are viewed in a physical space, my desire is for them to elicit an immediate, instinctive response from an audience member. I emphasise the necessity for the works to exude a sense of imposition, monumentality, or awe upon approach — a magnetic quality that entices the viewer to engage more actively. The focus is squarely on the human experience with the body of work. 

At this juncture, the conceptual strength of the work begins to exert its influence on the observer. The significance of a piece lies in the viewer’s interpretation, a concept often discussed in art academic discourse in which the audience plays a crucial role in completing the body of work.  Ideally, this engagement prompts a desire to explore the historical, contextual, and societal aspects of my work within the realms of art. 

While documenting artworks is indispensable, the process transforms the three-dimensional space into a two-dimensional plane and often lacks what Roland Barthes referred to as “punctum” — that initial poignancy of a photograph that ‘pricks’ you on encounter. When a work is documented, the human bond with the physical artwork is diminished. 

I strive to reintroduce the physical experience of the artwork during the documentation process while also allowing for the heightening and extending of the encounter with the artwork. 

The goal is to ensure that future audiences, especially those engaging with the work online, can gauge a sense of the physical encounter. As a result, my approach to documenting a body of work has evolved towards a more experimental editorial style. This shift aims to depart from a clinical and detached view of the work towards recapturing the original emotive responses I intended for people to experience.

This approach also ensures that the creative process extends beyond the creation, installation and exhibition of the work, permeating the documentation and even the dissemination of the work. It opens avenues for continual creative input, injecting interest and creativity at various stages to influence people’s impressions of both the work and my artistic practice.


SIDE-NOTE acknowledges the Eora people as the traditional custodians of the land on which this project was produced. We pay our respects to Elders past and present. We extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples reading this.