Installation highlights

As major artworks are installed throughout Sydney a focus on interactivity and adventure is set to emerge.
Installation highlights

As major artworks are installed throughout Sydney a focus on interactivity and adventure is set to emerge.

The idea for Walking Men Worldwide™ came to Maya Barkai after moving to New York in 2002 and witnessing the ‘walk / don’t walk’ signs slowly changing into graphic representations that the international city could embrace. Barkai became aware that the ‘walking man’ icon was a pervasive symbol within most of the world’s modernised countries, and one that was instantly recognisable regardless of cultural background.

Barkai is intrigued by the differences between icons. ‘Typically portrayed as simple pictograms, some are more elaborate than others,’ said Barkai. While some icons have hats, some are orange as opposed to green, some use LED technology and some are animated, one kind in particular stands out for Barkai. ‘In my mind, the most exciting icons feature female “walkers”.’

In Walking Men Worldwide™, as part of Art & About Sydney, banners of various ‘walking men’ will be hoisted above select Sydney streets. Barkai hopes the project will provoke conversation among the public about the meaning behind various representations of the ‘common man’ and the versatility and individual stories each icon can possess.

Another installation that will spread across the city, or in this case crawl, will be Snailovation by the Cracking Art Group. 24 large snails made from recyclable material will appear in random spots of the city during Art & About Sydney, in a hue so bright people walking past won’t be able to miss them. The project began in Milan and has travelled many other European and American cities.

The Cracking Art Group considers the environment in all their work as well as the conscious understanding and usage of material. Plastic is a favourite material of theirs, which is, according to artist Renzo Nucara of the Cracking Art Group, ‘…  experiencing an evolution unthinkable; becoming more and more "natural".’

The snails were created in order to play with city spaces and break down the obviousness of the everyday urban environment. Within the project the snail is transformed from a humble garden friend to a creature with a message: ‘Slow down, in order to understand what we are experiencing and to try to appreciate the little things.’

The Australian Museum also gets in on the act with Jurassic Lounge, a night of drinking and malacology (study of molluscs such as snails and slugs) on 24 September. This after-hours gathering will showcase local artists, performers and scientists as they share tales of snails and slime.

If you’re looking for something at a different speed the installation I Think I Can will be operating at a steady chug within the walls of Central Station. Assistant Director of Terrapin Puppet Theatre Sam Routledge and inter-disciplinary artist Martyn Coutts will be installing a 1:87 scale model railway, in collaboration with the Hills Model Railway Society within which people can ‘live’ in the form of a tiny puppet. ‘It’s sort of like Second Life or The Sims but on a model railway layout,’ said Routledge.

A digital element will also be introduced that will allow people to see the miniature world in macro focus. ‘A puppeteer manipulates the tiny puppets and our camera's focus in so you can see them on the big screen,’ said Routledge. There will also be an online newspaper at, which allows you to follow your resident through this website, adding another ‘real’ layer to the world.  

The work will be produced by Intimate Spectacle in association with Terrapin Puppet Theatre.

FIELD is yet another installation that aims to immerse the viewer in an unfamiliar domain. Alexandra Heaney and Angus Muir from Auckland company Out of the Dark will install a series of mirrored structures in Hyde Park, creating a surreal optical environment for spectators to pass through and interact with. ‘We hope that the audience is mesmerised by FIELD.’ said Muir.

The scope of the installation and the complexity of the reflecting images will definitely cast reality in a new light for many.


With so many new worlds being created through Art & About Sydney, ordinary reality make start to feel like yet another creation. This is art that truly challenges.

Art & About Sydney will run through Sydney from 20 September to 20 October.


For information about installations and events visit the Art $ About Sydney website.

(Pictured: 'Snailovation')

Melanie Sano

Sunday 8 September, 2013

About the author

Melanie Sano is an ArtsHub writer.