Top 12 of 2012 – Art Installations in Sydney

Guest Contributor – Vin Rathod

During 2012, Sydney saw various Public Art Festivals including: Vivid Sydney (May – June 2012); 18th Biennale of Sydney (June – Sept 2012); Art and About (Sept – Oct 2012); and Sculptures by the sea (Oct 2012)

One Planet Living emphasises on reviving the local cultural heritage that is being lost throughout the world due to globalisation, by supporting and participating in the arts.

The various installations we saw this year in Sydney, both inside and outside, created opportunity for the community to interact, reflect and share the ideas, creativity and culture. Both local and global artists, by use of innovative ideas and at times high-tech technologies, presented some very fine installations lifting up the ‘spirit of art’ among Sydney-siders. The long queue at circular quay for ferry to Cockatoo Island and always full forecourt of MCA and Custom house during Vivid Sydney 2012 were among the few proofs of the success of these events. Hope all of you in and around Sydney got chance to be a part of these celebrations. If not, watch out for them in 2013.

Below are my Top 12 installations from this year’s various Art Festivals. They are in no particular order.

Fujiko Nakaya’s Living Chasm – This installation created fog-like effect using pure water. This site-specific installation converted the normal afternoon into a magical, dream-like atmosphere …

Lee Mingwel’s Mending Project – A simple yet colourful installation where visitors could participate by bringing in a garment or object that requires mending that became a part of installation.

Tiffany Singh’s Knock on the Sky Listen to the Sound – the large entry hall of Pier 2/3 was full of colourful ribbons and wind chimes. Visitors were encouraged to take a chime home, decorate as they like and return to a dedicated space on Cockatoo island. An artist’s installation was transformed into people’s installation.

Ed Pien and Tanya Tagaq’s Source – The black and white film of hand gestures was projected on floor from a ceiling mounted projector, creating interesting display right in the front of the entrance. One could walk over or simply watch the display without any interruptions, establishing a connection in their own way.

Philip Beesley’s Hylozoic series - Working with the concept of hylozoism – the belief that all matter in the universe has a life of its own – Philip Beesley creates interactive environments that respond to the actions of the audience, offering a vision of how buildings in the future might move, think and feel.

Daan Roosegaarde’s Dune - Cockatoo Island’s Dog Legged tunnel was lined with Interactive landscape, a hybrid of nature and technology made from large amounts of fibre optics which reacts to the sounds and motions of people walking by. Visitors become active participants, having a direct influence on the interactive artwork’s identity.

Light Display on MCA facade by various Australian artist from MCA and Sydney’s Spinifex Group – During Vivid Sydney 2012, the Museum of Contemporaty Arts (MCA) was transformed into a Canvas of Light. Every evening 3D colour projections and digital artistry did their magic transforming architecture into vibrant graphic art.

Li Hongbo’s Ocean of Flowers – This installation has been created by gluing piles of paper together with the honeycomb technique carved into forms resembling weapons that the artist twirls into new ‘flower shapes’. The thing that struck me the most is the scale and the intricate detail of every flower making the installation space into a huge colourful ocean of flowers.

Ken Unsworth’s No Return – The life size skeleton balancing on the pole creates an atmosphere of tension or uneasiness that gives the viewer an opportunity to re-evaluate one’s own life.

Kathryn Clifton and Martin Bevz’s Sea Grass – The strands of optic fibres changed colours as a response to human presence. As you can see, it was a big hit among kids. (This image got highly commended in Australian Photography Competition, Theme – Colour Green)

Alex Richie’s Kaleidoscope Cube – The towers of mirrors depicted urban landscape of tall buildings with curtain wall facades. The way they reflect each other resembles the current cities with sense of commonness between them. However, from certain angle, these walls merged into the surrounding being a part of natural environment. A simple yet very interesting installation.

Hilde A. Danielsen’s Upside Down Again – The most facinating thing about this installation way wooden slats were installed to create a fluid twirl-like form. The juxtaposition of rigidity of slats vs fluidity of installation attracted many art lovers.

All images: Copyright Vin Rathod.

Vin Rathod holds a Bachelor of Architecture from KRVIA, Mumbai and Master of Construction Project Management from UNSW, Sydney. He lives and works in Sydney, Australia. His photography pursuit developed during his architectural education where he developed an understanding of various design elements such as brightness and darkness, colours and shades, composition and importance of negative spaces etc. For Vin, each photograph is a design; a design for the subject, be it an art, architecture, city, or a sculpture. He thrives on creativity and imagination and is always developing new ideas. The photographs speak of his vision to see built-form as an artwork. While highlighting the essence of the subject using creative photography techniques, each image is a wonderful piece of art.  A collection of Vin’s fine art photographs are constantly evolving as seen on his website

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