high court, canberra

Thursday, 29 May 2014

One thing that Canberra has above other Australian cities are grandiose civic buildings. Edwards Madigan Torzillo Briggs' design for the High Court must be one of this country's finest examples of Brutalist Architecture.

Built in the 1970s, the building is a grand hall with three courts suspended internally and a series of ramps and stairs linking between. The structure is predominantly concrete, with glass draped across one face of the forty metre tall building.

The concrete in the main hall has been formed with sculptural details that are finely detailed but strong and robust in character. The waffled ceilings, chamfered reveals around openings and gently curving edges sent me and my camera into quite the frenzy.

island preview

Monday, 26 May 2014

Development for the Melbourne season of Island starts again! I'll be busy working away in the theatre, this time transforming the space at Dancehouse.

Here is a tiny teaser of the space from the Canberra season. The first season was a success - read some very kind words in this review. So I'm looking forward to sharing this work in my home city. If you want to check it out, booking details can be found here.

PS. Did you notice that the ol' blog has new clothes?

fog sculpture

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Japanese artist, Fujiko Nakaya's Fog Sculpture is a fine spray of mist that drifts over the march pond at the National Gallery's Sculpture Garden. For two hours daily, the fog shortens your view, screening your vision of anything beyond a few metres. 

It reminded me of a Japanese Haiku. It's a confined gesture (both in space and time) that submerges you into another world. For that fleeting moment, the world it creates feels infinite.

skyspace, james turrell

Friday, 9 May 2014

If you follow me on Instagram you might know that I've been in Canberra working on a set design for a dance piece. It's happening all again in Melbourne in five weeks, so I'll share a bit more about this later.

While in the neighbourhood, I visited James Turrell's Skyspace at the National Gallery. A circular pavilion within a square pavillion, the whole structure is partly submerged under water. Descending down a ramp through the moat, the textured ochre walls, sandwiched between the open sky and bright blue pool, draw immediate attention to the quality of light, colour and form within the room.

Upon entering the central round pavilion, attention immediately shifted to the sky through the oculus in the domed ceiling. I visited at dusk which coincides with the light show. The domed ceiling shifted from one colour to another; white, grey, orange, pink then purple. With each shift the sky transformed in colour and depth, at times looking infinite and other times looking like a flat coloured disk. When the dome turned a pale lavender, turning the sky a sea green, I gently slipped away.

It may not have knocked my socks off in the same way as his work at Naoshima (after that there's no coming back) but it was yet another example of Turrell's mastery in light, colour and perception. Well worth the visit!

cockatoo island, sydney biennale

Friday, 2 May 2014

Last weekend I escaped to Sydney for the weekend and managed to visit Cockatoo Island for the Biennale. Setting off from the wharf at Circular Quay, the ferry ride marked a distinct severance from Sydney CBD and a passage into a new world.

Set within the context of a pre-settlement convict base and shipyard, the Biennale imaginatively uses the site to create an exciting cultural playground. You can probably tell from a few of my art-free photos that I was quite enamoured by the site itself. From the sound installation occupying the low, cylindrical bunker, to the giant waterfall projection in the cavernous warehouse, the site’s qualities are fully exploited.

Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger‘s installation was particularly memorable. The interactive installation uses low-tech methods attached to gym equipment to delight the visitor. Bubbles, flailing coloured flowers, dancing skeletons and clanging symbols are activated as the equipment is used. With some of the reactions occurring on the opposite side of the room, I became hyper aware of my movement and the movement of others in the room.

I only had a couple of hours to explore so I’m sure I missed out on seeing it all. However, I saw enough to be convinced that travelling to Sydney for the Biennale is well and truly worth it. I’m half tempted to fly back and check out the other Biennale sites…

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