Cardiff and Miller: The City of Forking Paths

Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, The City of Forking Paths, 2014
Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, The City of Forking Paths, 2014, video/audio walk, 66 mins. Documentation of audience participation. Courtesy the artists, Luhring Augustine, New York and Gallery Koyangi, Tokyo. Commissioned by the 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014) as a City of Sydney legacy artwork as part of the City Art Collection. Photograph: Gunther Hang

Over the past two decades, Canadian artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller have become internationally acclaimed for their distinctive and innovative body of works comprising of multimedia audio installations and site-specific walks. For the 19th Biennale of Sydney: You Imagine What You Desire, Cardiff and Miller have created a new commission that will continue to exist after the end of the exhibition as a permanent City of Sydney legacy artwork.

The City of Forking Paths (2014), uses an iPod Touch to visually and aurally 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, incidents and musical experiences 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 19th Biennale of Sydney may almost be over, but Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller’s The City of Forking Paths  is here to stay.

On Tuesday, 10 June The City of Forking Paths will become part of the City of Sydney’s public art collection, City Art.

To experience the artwork, head to Customs House Foyer, between dusk and 9:30 pm, Monday to Saturday. You can borrow headphones and an iPod pre-loaded with The City of Forking Paths from the concierge desk in the foyer of Customs House, providing a credit card and photo ID for security.

The duration of the walk is just over 1 hour, concluding on Cumberland Street in The Rocks. Please return your iPod to Customs House within 30 minutes of completing the walk.

Alternatively, you can download the free app for The City of Forking Paths onto your own device and bring your own headphones. (See below for more information and to download)


The City of Forking Paths is now available to download on Android and Apple devices.

This app is over 1.8GB in size. Please be advised that downloading this app may take up to an hour or more over a standard ADSL2+ secure wifi connection but this may vary depending on the speed of your internet connection. Due to the large size of this app, we recommend that you download it from home ahead of arriving at Customs House and delete it from your mobile device after use.

User’s own headphones are required. This app is GPS-activated and time-locked and will only function from Customs House after dusk.

The app is compatible with the following devices:

Download for Android
Android™ 2.2 and above
1.7 GB

Download for iPhone
iPod touch 4, iPhone 4, iPhone 5, iPod touch 5
iOS 6.1 or later
1.8 GB

For optimum experience of this artwork or for those unable to access this app, devices pre-loaded with this artwork are available to loan from Customs House, 31 Alfred Street, Circular Quay.

Apps were developed by Code and Visual.


Users must be 18 years and over unless accompanied by an adult. The walk is not suitable for children under 12 years. This walk is intended for individual use and groups of people will be encouraged to begin the walk at staggered intervals. If you feel uncomfortable with the idea of being in quiet parts of The Rocks at night, please do not attempt the walk alone. The wearing of comfortable shoes is recommended as the route involves steep staircases and uneven surfaces in low light. Visitors are advised that the piece may provoke feelings of distraction and disorientation. Please be aware of your surroundings as you do this video walk.


Customs House, 31 Alfred Street, Circular Quay, Sydney