Infinity Forest – a temporary silver birch forest in Penfolds Place creates a concentration of nature and an intimate reflective room

by Lynne Blundell

Sydney’s laneways are about to get a sustainable makeover, adorned with everything from silver birch forests, canopies of bird cages, giant fluorescent light tubes, a mini outdoor cinema and a seven metre high bar to highlight climate change.

Laneways by George! Hidden Networks is the City of Sydney’s second annual display aimed at highlighting Sydney’s hidden places.

Eight projects were chosen out of 68 submissions. Each focuses on collaboration, sustainability and the changing role of public spaces, and has been created by interdisciplinary teams including artists, architects, urban designers, landscape architects and others such as musicians, poets, a scientist and a lawyer.

The eight projects were chosen by curator and urban designer Steffen Lehmann and the City’s Public Art Panel.

City of Sydney Mayor, Clover Moore, said the council received more than 500 registrations and 68 submissions for project with many inspiring high quality temporary artworks.

“These exciting proposals will not only enliven our laneways, but challenge us to think about the future of our planet, our relationships with each other and will remind us what we have lost as Sydney has become increasingly urbanised.

“I am sure visitors will be delighted, inspired and provoked as they are enticed to explore these forgotten spaces off George Street in the heart of the City.”

The eight projects are:

The Urban Barcode is created with white fluorescent tubes in Abercrombie lane, with a pocket size open air cinema showing movies about cities

· 7 Metre Bar -Richard Goodwin, Adrian Macgregor and Russell Lowe: highlighting inaction on climate change, combining the landscape of weather and topography with the architecture of a catastrophe and the interactive technology of digital games.

· PS: Potential Spaces -Neeson Murcutt, Chalk Horse and Freehills: linking the idea that laneways could one day be used for future habitation, with new street furnishings, markers, mirrors and lounges, revealing the hidden potential.

· Dwell in the City – Kim Bridgland, Adrian Hill and team  – a prosthetic skin applied to along the brick walls of Bridge Lane, as a barely audible heartbeat pulses through the laneway, visualising decay of aging bodies

I dwell in the city – a prosthetic skin applied to along the brick walls of Bridge Lane, as a barely audible heartbeat pulses through the laneway, visualising decay of aging bodies

· The Urban Barcode – Maix Mayer, Damian Hadley and Hannah Tribe: the barcode of Jan Gehl’s “Life Between Building” created with white fluorescent tubes in Abercrombie lane with a pocket size open air cinema showing movies about cities.

· The Meeting Place – Aspect Studios Landscape Architects, Herbert+Mason, Derlot, Light 2: a playful installation encouraging participation and interaction while heightening the experience of moving through the urban space of Little Hunter Street.

· Family Unit: Chill Trailer – Anne Graham and the Bond Family: a mobile trailer that opens up and expands with events and performances in a number of laneways to encourage community interaction and participation. The trailer will transform into everything from a nightclub to a kitchen, chill-out space, classroom and even a garden.

· Forgotten Songs – Michael T Hill, Richard Major, David Towey, Richard Wong: engaging with the beauty, unexpectedness and unfamiliarity of displaced birdsongs, while exploring how Sydney’s fauna has evolved and adapted to coexist with increased urbanisation.

Forgotten Songs engages with the beauty, unexpectedness and unfamiliarity of displaced birdsongs, while exploring how Sydney’s fauna has evolved and adapted to coexist with increased urbanisation

· Infinity Forest – Mathew Chan (Scale Architecture), Isabelle Cordeiro, Katie Hepworth: a temporary forest jolting people who cut through Penfolds Place with an unexpected concentration of nature and an intimate reflective room.

The proposed temporary artworks will go through the DA process and, if approved, will be installed in time for the City of Sydney’s Art & About event in October.

The installations are intended to remain in place until the end of The Sydney Festival in late January 2010.

For more information, visit the website: www.lanewaysbygeorge.com.au

lblundell@thefifthestate.com.au