Starting this year and for each of the upcoming three Biennales, the City of Sydney will commission a permanent work for our public art collection, City Art.
If you’re thinking we’re in for a monument – think again. The inaugural legacy artwork from acclaimed Canadian artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, City of Forking Paths, will be experienced on a mobile device, engrossing you in an unsettling world where things aren’t quite as they seem.
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 which is unique to Sydney.
Cardiff is best known for her signature audio walks in which she creates a narrative soundtrack in response to site-specific locations. Most recently, in collaboration with Miller, she created The Alter Bahnhof Video Walk (2012) for the old train station in Kassel, Germany, as part of one of the world’s biggest contemporary art exhibitions, dOCUMENTA (13). Watch as she beckons the walker to become a collaborator in the work:
The works of Cardiff and Miller have been the subject of multiple, highly acclaimed international solo exhibitions at institutions including Akademie der Kunste, Berlin; Luhring Augustine, New York; The Hamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin and The Miami Art Museum, among others. They also won La Biennale di Venezia Special Award for their work representing Canada, Paradise Institute at the 49th Venice Biennale.
Make sure you explore your perception of reality during the Middle Program of the 19th Biennale of Sydney. A free download of City of Forking Paths is now available, but don’t forget it can only be experienced on location after dusk.