THOUSANDS of abandoned 19th century photographic negatives found near a rubbish tip at Kempsey might have been throwaway items.
Now they have inspired Southern Cross University visual arts student Kurtis Adamson's work, 'Dear memory, please don't forget me' that goes on show on Friday night at Traces, the annual SCU visual arts honours exhibition.
More than 250,000 glass negatives were rescued from landfill at the last minute, eventually making their way by chance into the creative hands of the Kempsey-born artist.
Moved by the mystery and weathered appearance of the anonymous images, Mr Adamson digitally reproduced them as part of his honours thesis on experimental surfaces such as wood and aluminium.
The project explores ideas of memory and identity.
Mr Adamson said he wanted to reinvigorate the process of digital art creation, which he described as "disembodied".
"It wasn't a case of just sitting at a computer and pressing 'print'," he said.
"I wanted to put my body into it; put my gesture into it.
"Essentially my project was trying to re-embody the creative process... to reinstall a life back into digital printing."
Mr Adamson's project will be displayed with those of five other honours students, covering diverse media including three-dimensional installations, sculpture and painted landscapes of the Wollumbin caldera in the style of Cezanne.
One project guaranteed to draw a curious crowd is Mullumbimby artist Jane Woodruff's work, Installation as initiation that is intended to provide a sensory experience designed to expand consciousness.
The work is inspired by Fingal's Cave in Scotland that has served as a source of mystery and artistic inspiration for musicians and writers for centuries.
Ms Woodruff said she wanted to create an installation where participants might access a conscious "spiritual" experience.
The free exhibition begins on Friday from 5.30pm-8pm at V Block, SCU Lismore and is open 10am-4pm Monday-Saturday until November 23.
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