A 3D computer model of Manns Hill Hut has been made by the SLR Project in response to the expression of interest by the Williams River Valley Artists' Project (WRVAP).

Out of the many possible ways in which straight lines could occupy its two self-contained parts, two were selected and proposed to the WRVAP.

This proposal was presented as the still images below (showing the line-residencies as they would appear from the top of Manns Hill - and what would become the only island in the Tillegra Dam if it is ever built as planned) and as 3D computer models. To see the 3D models, download line one and two and twirl them in Sketchup Viewer.

Below is the double page entry for this proposal in the planned publication, Straight-line residency proposals, a project to promote interdimensional travel and understanding, as laid out using the free bookmaking software, Booksmart.

The SLRP is waiting to see if the WRVAP wants to take this process any further and actually install the lines in the hut so that the residencies can begin.


Sample proposal of a Straight-Line Residency in a box, by Horst Kiechle

The Straight-Line Residency Project is looking for expressions of interest by people and institutions in hosting a straight-line in a building or other location to which they have some access.

If you would like to participate in this way, a rationale for the project is provided below. Other posts provide an outline of the measurements and contextual information the project is asking you to provide. A sample expression of interest is provided in another post.

In the second stage, the SLR Project will use the information you provide through this expression of interest, to prepare a 3D computer-model that shows how a straight-line would occupy your location.

At the conclusion of this second stage, the project plans to produce an on-line publication of proposals, supported by the contextual information provided in each expression of interest.

If you are then interested in taking the residency proposal to the next stage, negotiations can begin on the realisation of the straight-line-in-residence in your host location.

Regardless of how far you want to take your participation, your expression of interest in hosting a line in a location of your choice will enable this project to begin. Of course, there is no obligation on you or the SLR Project to take an expression of interest to any of its later stages.

Rationale of the Straight-Line Residency Project:

A ready-made model for the Straight-Line Residency (SLR) project is provided by the account of travel between the zero, one, two and three dimensional spaces of Pointland, Lineland, Flatland and Spaceland by Edwin A. Abbot (1838-1926).(1) In this account, the dimensions are distinguished by the limits of their spatial paradigms more than by any notion of different objective realities. Consequently, the reason that, as Spacelanders, we cannot occupy Abbott's Pointland, Lineland or Flatland is not because we occupy a different physical space necessarily, but because we occupy a different paradigm and thus lack the spatial frameworks of the other dimensions. This is because, as Spacelanders, we 'have higher views of things' and thus insufficient faith in the mysteries that are unexplained by other dimensional paradigms and that are reflected in their scientific theories and even their social values (though some of the latter sound horribly familiar).

Our purpose in encouraging straight-line visits to Spaceland is not to promote Spaceland paradigms to other dimensions so much as to experiment with interdimensional travel to see what straight-lines look like once situated within the three-dimensional forms provided by the SLR hosts. Our main interest is how our observation of Linelanders' and Flatlanders' responses to Spaceland prompts us see our own familiar space with new eyes. We want to see how straight-lines bend and curve over the forms that wrap around us as we inhabit them.

Abbott's account is written in 1884 for mathematicians, but the idea of interdimensional travel can be seen in art practices that experiment with the 'merging of art and life' and that attempt to escape the spatially autonomous art object. The work of Helena Almeida is a good model for the SLR project because it suggests the possibility of recognition and movement between the spaces of artworks and the places in which they are located, rather than their merging. This is especially so in her Inhabited Drawings in which actions crossing the picture planes that separate the virtual space of images and the literal space of their locations, suggest that each space is valued equally rather than one being defined at the expense of the other.(4) This movement resembles Abbott's notion of interdimensional space travel because, in his account as well, the spaces retain their integrity rather than one disappearing into the other (even though this is maintained too rigidly by Abbott sometimes, as when the Square is jailed on returning from Spaceland for refusing to recant his new-found belief in three-dimensionality.(5))

Interdimensional movement is also a common part of the artmaking process regardless of whether it produces cross-spatial work--we create a type of movement from the Spaceland we occupy into the artspaces that we create with them when we transform concrete objects, materials and processes into images or other constructions that comprise artwork. This movement is also not limited to art, as we are all also accustomed to travelling into the virtual spaces of images, films and stories as a regular part of modern daily life.

However this movement is usually in only one direction, from Spaceland into virtual spaces of the imagination or intellect. The SLR project aims to experiment with movement in the opposite direction--for visits into Spaceland, starting with visits by straight-lines from Abbott's Flatland and Lineland. (Visits by circles, polygons, triangles and other Flatland shapes could be considered at another stage, thuogh even those look like straight lines when seen in Flatland.) As well as providing the opportunity to see what straight-lines look like in their new situations, this may also stimulate Spacelanders' interest in our own dimension by showing that it can be a dimensional destination of choice, in contrast to our tendency to take it for granted or think of it as just too literal, or even as something that gets in the way. The renewal of interest in the physicality of Spaceland is especially needed now that its climate seems to be reacting to its long-term neglect by raising its temperatures and melting its icecaps.

However these hopes for the project rely on expressions of interest in hosting a straight-line residency, as its first stage. If you are interested in this project and there is a physical place or location that is significant to you, all you need to do at this stage is measure it and provide the information about the location requested in the specifications for Expressions of Interest. The SLR project will study each expression of interest received, to determine how a straight-line would best occupy its proposed location. This second stage will result in the publication of a collection of proposals, each one describing the location and proposing how it considers a straight-line would best occupy it. Each host would then have the opportunity to decide whether or not it wanted to work with the project towards the realisation of the particular residency proposed for its location. This third stage is a more open-ended one as each residency would need to be negotiated individually, depending on the circumstances.

(1) Edwin A. Abbott Flatland: A Romance in Many Dimensions (1884), Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, 1992


(3) Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics , 1998, trans Simon Pleasance & Fronza Woods: France: les Presse du réel, 2002

(4) For images, see Margaret Roberts, Art and the Status of Place , in Scope: Contemporary Research Topics (art: 3) p129 (

(5) The SLR project draws selectively from Abbott's Flatland - it is more interested in its mathematical dimension than in the social values projected onto Flatland in the construction of the narrative. As well, the length of lines to be offered residencies will be determined by the host location.


Your Expression of Interest should contain the following information:

Please provide measurements of the space you propose as a host. These do not need to be professional architectural drawings, as long as they are drawn, readable and metric, and accurately describe the shape of the space.

While the most practical residency will be within the interior of an architectural form, please provide the external measurements if an exterior (or mixed interior/exterior) residency is more appropriate for your host space.

A host can be a single space or multiple spaces (eg multiple rooms and/or storeys). In the latter case, doors etc will be left open to provide the opportunity for the residency to extend into multiple rooms.

Measurements should be as detailed as possible, and where there are gaps in information, the SLR project will design a proposal on the basis of what is most likely given the other information provided.

For example, measurements of a conventional architectural interior should be a drawn plan which shows:

• width and length of the floor(s) - for each storey and for each individual room

• lengths and height of walls and distances between windows, doors etc

• height and width of windows, doors, indentations such as fireplaces etc, and their locations in relation to wall edges

• shape of ceilings (eg flat; if not flat, draw plan & side views with measurements)

• if multiple rooms or storeys: thickness of walls, width of space between storeys, size of openings between storeys for stairs, etc (most common or likely dimensions will be used if this is not provided)

• indicate angles if other than 90 or 180 degrees

• any other information needed to describe the shape of the particular space.

(Please check back to this page as we may discover additional things to list here.)

Your preference(s) for a starting point and direction for the Straight-Line's residency. If these are not provided, we will determine them. (The length of the straight-line proposed for your space will depend on the interaction between the shape of the space, the location of the two end points of the line, and the line's initial direction.)

Please provide visual and written information that explains why you are proposing this space as a host. Please include its location and anything about its history and how it is occupied that helps explain its value to you. Text can be in any language (please provide your own English translation if possible). This can be provided in a text of any length, but will need to be maximum of 450 words when included in the on-line publication. (A picture of you in the space would also be great.)


Information provided in the expression of interest by the
Williams River Valley Artists' Project, 2009

Plan of Manns Hill Hut:

The line's residency can be started anywhere in the hut, and go in any direction, but it needs to be installed before it is flooded by the Tillegra Dam.


Manns Hill Hut with Bremer Fowler Smith, Williams valley: 1960s

The Williams River Valley Artists' Project (WRVAP) is proposing Manns Hill Hut as a host for a Straight-Line Residency because it has also been a very good host for our own residencies during 2009. It has also had a very rich life for such a transitory building—or perhaps because of it—as it has been lived in by many other people and has been involved in the major events of war, migration and now climate change in the 70 years since it was first constructed.

Some of the ten members of the WRVAP have known the hut for many years, but the rest of us got to know it in 2009 when we formed the project in response to the renewed plans to divert the Williams River to create the Tillegra Dam. These plans are to create a water reservoir that seems far in excess of existing needs within the geographical area it can service, and historical experience with damming rivers suggests that the Williams River would be destroyed in the process.[i] The WRVAP was also formed to support the organiser, Juliet Fowler Smith, whose family farm that lies along the Williams River would be flooded if the plans go ahead.

We stayed at the hut several times during our visits to the farm in 2009. The nearest town is Dungog, three hours drive or train-ride North of Sydney where most of us are based. On those visits, we met locals and learned about how dam proposals have been aired periodically (and fought against) since the 1950s because, it is said, the natural land formations of the Williams valley mean that a relatively small dam wall could be used to contain as much water as occupies Sydney Harbour. We also learned that the land on which the Manns Hill Hut is located was cleared and dairy-farmed by Juliet's family for five generations. The hut was brought there in pieces on trucks in the early 1960s when Juliet's father, Snow, bought it for £150 when the Greta migrant camp (just North of Maitland) was being closed down. It would have been one of the huts that can be seen in images of life at the Greta migrant camp during 1949-60, on Two of these images are reproduced below.

Snow said he was working for the Department of Agriculture by then, and employed share farmers—who are also long term Williams valley residents—who occupied the one good house on the farm until very recently. The hut was for his regular trips to the farm (mainly to keep the rabbits and weeds down, he says), and as the second home (especially in school holidays) for his four daughters. It was originally an army hut for men being trained for the Second World War, composed of approximately 17 x 5.5 metres of open space, with doors at each end.

When it was converted in 1949 to house migrants, mostly women and children (the men were apparently employed elsewhere on the Snowy Mountains Scheme, etc.), coming to Australia to escape the devastation of the same war, internal walls were added to make space for three families per hut. When the trucks brought the hut to the Williams Valley, one third went to become part of the Munni Public School (and was later lost when the school burned down) and the other two-thirds was brought to the farm and gradually had lino, toilet, shower, pantry, verandahs, garden patches and verandah roofs added, and eventually an entire new roof to replace the existing fibro roof that began to leak.

Twenty years ago, another third was built on as a self-contained extension for Snow and Bremer for when the hut was occupied by one or more of their daughters with their families and friends. Despite the successes of past local opposition to the dam, Snow believes that this time the Hunter Water Authority will have its way, and that the area will be flooded by 2015. Like most property owners in the area, he is negotiating to sell the farm to them rather than wait for its compulsory acquisition, and then lease it back until the dam wall is built. After that, he understands the new owners will remove the roof to prevent it floating off, and the rest will submerge as the dam fills up. Mann's Hill—which the hut is located beside, not on—is expected to become an island, and Snow has constructed a memorial plaque there among the existing cow bones. The artist-group is not as resigned to this outcome as Snow, but is nevertheless talking about leaving an ark on the hill as well, in case. We imagine a Straight-Line-in-residence in the hut being able to float free of its structure as it submerges, extending out to its full length on the dam surface or even flying off to somewhere else. But if it is painted-on, as is most likely, its term of residency will depend on how the hut itself survives submersion.

[i] ;

Manns Hill Hut, Williams valley, 2009