Take a journey through The Rocks at dusk with an interactive video artwork that melds fact and fiction. The City of Forking Paths, which is experienced on a mobile device, sets imagined scenarios for you to discover against the twilight backdrop of cobblestone streets.
The artwork was created by Canadians Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller for the 19th Biennale of Sydney. It is now a permanent work that you can interact with all year round.
The video walk at first seems to represent your surroundings, as you follow an evening stroll through the familiar backdrop of The Rocks. Acquainted streets soon become mystical as your senses are captured in an alternate world, narrated by Janet Cardiff. The walk – which has been referred to as ‘physical cinema’ – constructs a highly personal experience unique to Sydney.
The works of Cardiff and Miller have been the subject of highly acclaimed international solo exhibitions. These include Akademie der Kunste and The Hamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart in Berlin, Luhring Augustine in New York and others. They also won La Biennale di Venezia Special Award for their work representing Canada, Paradise Institute at the 49th Venice Biennale.
The pair also collaborated on The Alter Bahnhof Video Walk (2012) for an old train station in Kassel, Germany. This was part of one of the world’s biggest contemporary art exhibitions, dOCUMENTA (13).
Cardiff is best known for her signature audio walks in which she creates a narrative soundtrack in response to site-specific locations. Watch as she beckons the walker to become a collaborator in the work: