20 June 2012

'all our relations' – in Sydney this winter!

Its time for Sydney to once again spend winter exploring and discovering some of the best contemporary art on display in the world right now.  The 18th Biennale of Sydney will be presented from 27 June – 16 September 2012 and it’s all free.

The Biennale of Sydney continues to play a central role in developing visual arts culture in Australia and connecting artists from around the world. Every two years, the Biennale of Sydney is presented free to the public over a 12-week period. As the most exciting contemporary visual arts event in the Asia-Pacific region, the 18th Biennale of Sydney (2012) will celebrate the organisation’s 39th anniversary.

Titled all our relations, this Biennale will present works by more than 100 artists hailing from Australia, New Zealand, Asia Pacific, the Americas, Europe, South Africa and the Middle East. Nearly half the artists will present works created specifically for this exhibition, including many substantial collaborative installations.

Four of Sydney’s leading cultural institutions and heritage sites are major venues for the exhibition: the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the newly redeveloped Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Pier 2/3 and Cockatoo Island. For the first time, Carriageworks will also be a presenting partner.

It will be big – some of it will be beautiful, it will be emotional at times and confronting to some. For all of this you must get there. First thing to know is you can’t do the Biennale in one day – just impossible. So here are my tips, based on my experience of past Biennale’s and on researching what they have in store for us.  

1 June 2012

Vivid Sydney – hitting winter with colour and movement

If you are in Sydney at the moment let me persuade you to take a walk along Circular Quay and experience the very colourful and surprising adventure that is Vivid lights. 

Vivid lights are one of the Vivid Festival components and it’s delivered free and easy to access. The hugely popular Vivid lights are switched on every night of the festival from 6.00pm to midnight until June 11 in a free lighting display around The Rocks and Circular Quay, featuring 50 interactive and immersive light art sculptures, illuminated skyscrapers and large scale 3D mapping projections on the Sydney Opera House, Museum of Contemporary Art and Customs House.

It’s estimated that 400,000 people will take a look, which is incredible given its only in its fourth year. I remember the first year when it lit up the short walk from St Mary’s Cathedral to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the technology delivered single slide like screens over the buildings. Now it’s all 3D projections and interactive experiences. A very Sydney kind of evening out!

I met friends at the outside bar on Customs House forecourt and over a glass of champers we planned our walk and took in the first of the major exhibits. The front of Customs House tells the story of a day in the life of a local Joe Average. These projections have come a long way and are now designed to use the features of the building to enhance the show and not just be its screen. It’s full of humour and very very cute.