Artist Talk: Janet Cardiff

Janet Cardiff Artist Talk, Customs House, Sydney, 30 April 2014. Photograph: Gunther Hang
Janet Cardiff Artist Talk, Customs House, Sydney, 30 April 2014. Photograph: Gunther Hang

Ahead of the launch of Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller’s inaugural City of Sydney legacy artwork, artist Janet Cardiff will present a special talk at Customs House on Wednesday, 30 April.

Over the past two decades, Cardiff and Miller have become internationally acclaimed for their distinctive and innovative body of works comprising installations, sound-recordings and site-specific walks. In this address, Cardiff will discuss the duo’s collaborative art practice, with a particular emphasis on their ideas behind the new commission for Sydney, The City of Forking Paths (2014).

The City of Forking Paths uses an iPod Touch or a downloadable app to visually navigate a route from Customs House through The Rocks. As we walk, we follow the audio and video on the screen, which was previously recorded from the same location, with the intimate voice of Cardiff leading us up stairs, through laneways and between buildings. Against the backdrop of real streets, Cardiff and Miller invent scenarios and incidents for us to discover along the way. In this physically cinematic experience, fiction melds with our immediate location. It is exciting, intriguing and, at times, confusing for participants to blend the two realities: the virtuality of the video component and the concreteness of the real world. We begin to imagine characters in our physical world aligning with the figures on the screen and vice versa.

The City of Forking Paths is available to the public from Thursday, 1 May as part of the Middle Program for the 19th Biennale of Sydney: You Imagine What You Desire.

Cardiff will speak in the Barnett Long Room in Customs House, Circular Quay at 5.30 pm on Wednesday, 30 April. The talk is free to the public with bookings advised and a limited number of tickets available on the door.


31 Alfred Street, Circular Quay, Sydney NSW 2000