Michelle Hamer

Michelle Hamer was born in 1975 in Melbourne, Victoria and currently lives in Melbourne. Exhibiting since 2005, Hamer creates hand-stitched works on perforated plastic to explore the small in-between moments of apparent ‘nothingness’ that characterise everyday life. Drawing on her background in architecture, her work focuses on signage within urban landscapes. She is particularly interested in contemporary societal edicts and ideals, and the impermanent and in-between spaces as represented through signage and billboards.

Hamer’s work is based on her own photographs and translated predominantly by eye into her tapestries. She continues to use this traditional technique to explore an ironic romanticism present between tapestry and the digitalisation of imagery in contemporary society.

Hamer sought, through Object: Australian Centre for Design, to work with a specific community and examine a key cause of solastalgia affecting urban life in Sydney. One of the identified triggers was the increase in noise pollution, in particular from the airport, which was affecting people’s physical and mental health.

The No Aircraft Noise Party was formed as a political party in 1995 to fight the issue of noise from Sydney Airport. Hamer met with the group and visited affected suburbs to document and gain further understanding of the cause of such distress. Meeting with members of the community and having them explain the issue allowed the artist to consider their specific concerns, such as the impact of constant loud noise and fears of potential accidents with increased air traffic. The community welcomed the opportunity to talk and provided Hamer with background material including noise maps, and locations of signage and noise, which became the subjects of her works.

The community was enthusiastic and happy to be included in a discussion process that considered their issues. Michelle Hamer 2012

The two works that resulted, Noise map and Now you’re flying, are based on information provided from Hamer’s investigations with No Aircraft Noise and her direct observations in the inner city area affected by noise. The map shows the noise levels predicted by No Aircraft Noise based on the approved Sydney Airport Master Plan 2009, and using the Australian Noise Exposure Forecast system. Now you’re flying offers a caustic view of advertising luxury flights in the inner city area of Sydney most affected by air traffic noise – the plane appears to crash into buildings, one of the risks No Airport Noise party fears.

Artwork: Now you're flying (detail) by Michelle Hamer

Now you’re flying 2012
hand-stitched mixed yarn
on perforated plastic
69.3 x 54cm

Photo: Preparatory sketch for Noise Map and other research materials courtesy of No Aircraft Noise, Sydney.