Scar is a proposal for a memorial to commemorate the landing in 1770 of Captain Cook, at the site where this occurred.

The memorial consists of a linear arrangement of 593 steel poles, with each pole representing an indigenous tribe at the time of the landing. The poles form a bearing towards Plymouth, England: the point of origin and return for Cook’s journey. Within each pole a resin sheath contains the seeds of native plants gathered from each tribal area. These seeds signify Country, science, resources and form a living connection to the land.

Within the memorial the pole has a double meaning. The pole is both a spear, evoking the violent nature of the landing, and a stake, symbolising the opposing claims to the land. The memorial forms a timeline that commences in 1770. Each year another pole is added to the memorial until eventually, in 2363, all 593 poles have been added and the memorial is complete. Simultaneously, the poles will corrode and decay, slowly disappearing into the sea as the memorial extends inland. The memorial evolves as the significance and meaning of Cook’s landing continues to be contested.

The title of the proposal, Scar, describes the appearance of the design; like a line drawn across the surface from water onto land. A scar is also a wound: evidence of life; an implication of violence and a record of time passed. The memorial forms a liminal space that is barely perceptible at a distance, appearing almost empty and yet replete with meaning.

Year: 2007.