Coup de Soleil


Coup de Soleil tells the story of Margaret Toban, an 18-year old Irish immigrant who suffers a case of sunstroke and is committed to the Migrant Centre and then to the "lunatic cells" at Adelaide Gaol, where she tends the nearby olive groves with the other prisoners alongside orphans and inmates from the Asylum. Margaret's tale and the foundations of this strange future city of Adelaide are documented across a four-part installation.

The project was commissioned for the exhibition 'Build me a City', curated by Vivonne Thwaites and Christine Garnaut for the 2012 Adelaide Architecture Biennale at the Australian Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide.

The project features a photo essay in three volumes that recounts Margaret's tale and the story of making the work. This text is narrated as a walk along Adelaide Terrace, from the former Asylum site in the east to the Gaol in the west.

There is also a series of large posters of images from this imagined past-future archive, including the historical letter committing Margaret to her fate, which inspired the entire project. These are accompanied by three illuminated sunhats made from copies of these documents. Lastly, a font is filled with olive oil harvested for the project from the original Gaol plantation where Margaret was interned, which is overlaid with the projection of an eclipse.

Commissioned for the 2012 Adelaide Architecture Biennale to engage with Adelaide's architectural history, this work plots the unfolding of the foundations of Adelaide's North Terrace. Walking from east to west, this invisible plan can be charted as the major institutions reveal the logic of "civilisation".

´╗┐In the east, where the sun rises each day, are the institutions of recuperation: the infectious diseases hospital, the water purification plant, the botanical gardens and mental asylum. In the west, where the sun sets beyond the horizon, are the wastelands: the dumping ground, the slaughterhouse, the so-called "native" camp, and the Gaol.

Memory Projects