The Biennale of Sydney has announced that the inaugural City of Sydney legacy artwork will be a specially commissioned twilight video walk around The Rocks.
Created by international artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, The City of Forking Paths (2014) will be unveiled on 1 May 2014 as part of the 19th Biennale of Sydney: You Imagine What You Desire, curated by Juliana Engberg. The work will remain as a permanent part of the City of Sydney’s public art collection (City Art) at the conclusion of the exhibition.
Experienced on a smart phone or mobile device, The City of Forking Paths leads people on a fictional journey through physical surrounds at dusk. Starting at Customs House in Circular Quay, the work weaves a trail through The Rocks. Users can download the app onto their personal devices from home or borrow a mobile device for free.
The City of Sydney has committed up to $300,000 every two years to commission a major artwork for each of the next three Biennale of Sydney exhibitions, which will remain in Sydney as a permanent legacy and become part of the City Art collection.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said: ‘This first Biennale legacy artwork by Cardiff and Miller builds on the City’s commitment to high-quality public art and we’ve committed up to $300,000 to keep this engaging, world-class work here. ‘The success of events like the Biennale shows there is enthusiastic public support for contemporary art in Sydney – people want to be inspired, challenged and delighted by art and the City is committed to making Sydney the sort of place where groundbreaking art is encouraged and appreciated.‘This new work by Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller fits that category perfectly and I am sure it will be enthusiastically welcomed.’
Marah Braye, Chief Executive Officer, Biennale of Sydney said: ‘We are proud to attract some of the most respected names in contemporary art from around the world to exhibit work in this city. It is wonderful for us to be working with Cardiff and Miller again. This new project allows the Biennale of Sydney to secure major international artists to create new work for the City of Sydney and to further expand the City Art collection.’
Cardiff and Miller have created popular site-specific walks for cities around the world, including New York, Pittsburgh, São Paulo, Rome, London and Berlin, most recently creating a video walk for Kassel’s Hauptbahnhof Station as part of dOCUMENTA (13) (2012). The City of Forking Paths continues Cardiff and Miller’s innovative body of work by engrossing the active viewer in an intoxicating world that bridges reality and fiction.
Against the backdrop of real streets and familiar sites, the artists invent fictional scenarios and incidents for users to discover along the way. Guided by the voice of Janet Cardiff, familiar streets, made mystical at dusk, become the backdrop for an unfolding narrative of memory, displacement and desire. The title is an homage to Jorges Luis Borges’ story, The Garden of Forking Paths, a tale that uses the genre of a spy story to uncover questions of time and loss.
Juliana Engberg, Artistic Director, 19th Biennale of Sydney said: ‘In commissioning Cardiff and Miller to create this evocative fiction of the city, I wanted to acknowledge artists who have already made an impact upon the hearts and minds of the Biennale audience. People will no doubt remember their amazing sound work, The Murder of Crows, at Pier 2/3 in 2008. This video walk will become, I’m sure, a must-do encounter for the people of, and visitors to, Sydney.’
The video walk will be available for use, free of charge, after 1 May 2014 when it will be launched during the Middle Program of the 19th Biennale of Sydney.
Image: Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, The City of Forking Paths, 2014, video/audio walk. Courtesy the artists. Commissioned by the 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014) as a City of Sydney legacy artwork as part of the City Art Collection