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Regional Arts Development Central West NSW
the artists and the faRmer
Creating the 'Siloscopes' outdoor scultpure for Forbes Hospital
Siloscopes by Moline and Axelsen. Photo Jay Lee Zagrovic.

Contemporary artists lived with a Forbes farmer for a week to gather ideas for the major piece of public art outside Forbes Hospital.

Siloscopes was commissioned as part of the hospital’s redevelopment in 2016.

In designing the sculpture the artists, Heidi Axelsen and Hugo Moline, were asked to spend four days living and working with a Forbes farmer learning about the tools, challenges and experience of life on the land.

‘Siloscopes’ installed at Forbes Hospital.

The result is a sculpture called ‘Siloscopes’. It’s an interactive set of five pieces that resemble seed silos. The work reflects on farm life and invites people to interact with each of the ‘silos’ in different ways.

Lachlan Health Service Manager Liz Mitchell said she is extremely pleased with the new sculpture at Forbes Hospital.

“This new sculpture is an amazing piece of artwork, and I am thrilled that it has been inspired by the local Forbes area,” Mrs Mitchell said.

“The artists have captured many elements that represent life in our local area, and I am proud to have it on display at Forbes Hospital.”

The sculpture was installed at the Forbes Hospital on November 14, 2016.


sculpture installation November 14, 2016


The Lachlan Health Service Culture and Arts Working Group (LHS C&A Working Group) commissioned a sculpture for the courtyard of the Forbes Hospital. This is part of the Culture and Arts Program for the redevelopment of the Forbes Hospital. Arts OutWest managed the project.

Concept: The sculpture was to be inspired by the rural location of Forbes. The chosen artist/s were required to visit a farm in the Forbes area and accompany a farmer for four days on everyday farming activities in order to inform the design.  The artist/s could then use ideas inspired from this time to develop the Forbes Hospital sculpture making this work reflective of Forbes position within a rural community.  Work may touch on the physical, social and visual elements that the artist experiences on the farm.

Site: The sculpture will be positioned outside the main waiting room of Forbes Hospital in the garden area. This site is between the new building and the McLean heritage building.

Other considerations: the final sculpture had to be safe, suitable for installation at a hospital and long lasting.

Submission process: A public call for submissions was made. The committee selected the artists based on previous work, and the artist’s rational for the project. Both representational and abstract works were considered as well as innovative and contemporary interpretations.

Who made the choice of artists: A subcommittee representing the Culture and Arts Working Group, local artists and health staff. The Culture and Arts Working Group members represent the art community, the Aboriginal community, the Lachlan Health Service Health Council, Lachlan Health Service and Health Infrastructure and the developers.

The selected artists

The artists: The artists selected are duo Heidi Axelsen and Hugo Moline.

These artists have wide international experience and acclaim and have completed commissions around the world.

Heidi and Hugo are based in the Blue Mountains. They run MAPA Art & Architecture Pty Ltd. MAPA (Moline Axelsen: Public Art / Participatory Architecture) makes works of architecture and art. These works range from buildings to objects and installation, social processes and community engagement and situated public art.

Hugo Moline and Heidi Axelsen have been working together on situated public art projects and space activation through design and architecture since 2008. They make site-specific devices, discursive machines and social infrastructures. The form their work takes depends on its context, and has so far included: personalised vehicles, adaptable shelters, handmade maps, soluble animals, edible cities, a story-collecting tea cart and a galvanised-steel park shelter that can predict the weather. These lean devices actively engage people to question, understand and act upon the built and political structures which frame our lives.

Read their full biographies here:

The unique idea gathering and design process

The artists spent four days staying on a farm in the Forbes area and accompanied a farmer – Dan Herbert (a member of the Culture and Arts Working Group) – on everyday farming activities in order to inform the design.


Artists Heidi Axelsen and Hugo Moline with farmer Dan Herbert during their four day residency on his property near Forbes. Photo: Kim Storey.

Of this unique development experience the artists, Heidi and Hugh, said:

We were intrigued by this opportunity create a work from the experience of accompanying a local farmer in their daily life.

During our residency with farmer Dan Herbert we learned many things. We had an existing interest in the kinds of tools farmers used to work the land. What we soon realised was the enormous scale of the tools required to work such vast areas of land. Large machines such as harvesters and air-seeders, up to fixed elements such as windmills, silos and pumps and even landforms such as the irrigation channels.

The silos in particular were of great interest to us. Visually they are iconic elements in the landscape, but for farmers they are crucial, everyday equipment. They are connected to many elements of farm life. Storing seeds for the next planting, storing grain from harvest, storing feed for livestock. They are used differently throughout the seasons and the cycles of farming.

We also experienced the absolute connection of farmers to the weather and the elements. We arrived after a good patch of rain which was turning many paddocks green. When Dan would speak to his neighbours they would compare rainfall experienced in the different localities down to the millimetre and the hour. Such attention and connection to rainfall has long been lost in the cities. Of course this attention was required as the rain, along with sun and soil, plays such a crucial part in the growth of crops and pasture. So while the silos store grain for seed and for feed, it can also be said that the grain itself was storing the power of the sky, the sun, the rain as well as the nutrients of the soil.xx

We want to create a work which enables visitors to reflect on these elements of farm life. The work invites people to interact with a humble seed silo in such a way as to transform it from an ordinary piece of equipment into a new kind of device.

More from the artists on their blog:

The artists submitted a preliminary design which then went to the culture and arts working group for consideration; they made suggestions and asked questions before a final design was arrived at.

The sculpture

The sculpture created by Hugo Moline and Heidi Axelsen is called ‘Siloscopes’.

concept design for ‘Siloscopes’ sculpture.

The sculpture comes as five pieces called ‘River’, ‘Stars’, ‘Bones’, ‘Sun’ and ‘Rain’.

It’s an interactive set of five pieces that resemble seed silos. The work reflects on farm life and invites people to interact with each of the ‘silos’ in different ways.

Each of the silos is a different size and shape and each features a different design on the inside that people can view from standing below the silo and looking through a viewing area.

These designs are:

  • ‘River’ – gold leaf interior with a map of the Lachlan River.
  • ‘Stars’ – interior painted black with holes drilled in roof of chamber to match constellations.
  • ‘Bones’ – bleached sheep rib bones lining the inside of viewing chamber.
  • ‘Sun’ – interior painted black. White lines indicating month and time of day. The viewing chamber acts as sun dial. Point of light from roof tracks across white lines which indicate the month and the hour.
  • ‘Rain’ – upturned lip of roof collects water and drink into scoop. light reflects off small water tray inside viewing chamber. When the scoop fills with water it will tip filling the internal tray and causing the attached bell to ring out.

Photos by Jay-Lee Zagrovic

Overview culture and arts program

The Lachlan Health Services Project team engaged Arts OutWest to integrate culture and arts into the Forbes and Parkes Hospital redevelopments. The NSW Government provided $113.7 million to redevelop the Forbes Hospital and build a new Parkes Hospital. A component of this funding was used to help deliver the Lachlan Health Service Culture and Arts program.

“The artists have captured many elements that represent life in our local area, and I am proud to have it on display at Forbes Hospital.”

Location: Forbes

When: 2016

Funded by: NSW Government

Partnering with: Western NSW Local Health District: Lachlan Health Service

Artists: Heidi Axelsen and Hugo Moline

Image credits: Jay Lee Zagrovic, Kim Storey, Heidi Axelsen and Hugo Moline