release date: 29 march 2022
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This episode comprises an unedited 50 minute recording I made as I visited two of the six venues of the 23rd Biennale of Sydney on the morning of Monday the 21st of March 2022. Developed by Colombian curator and artistic director Jose Roca, and a curatorium of art workers from several of Sydney’s establishment art institutions, the Biennale is titled ‘rivus’ and explores varying relationships between humans and water, particularly fresh water. There is much to read on the biennale website – biennaleofsydney.art – and an exquisite tome, rivus:a glossary of water, published to accompany, expand upon and carry forward the conversations, enquiries and arguments proposed across this ambitious and inspiring contemporary art project.

The two venues in the recording are The Cutaway at Barangaroo, opened in 2015, a cultural venue like an enormous sandstone cave created though excavation for the larger surrounding reclamation development, and Pier 2/3 at Walsh Bay, one of a series of distinctive timber maritime cargo sheds built between 1906 and 1922. Each is like a horizontal skyscraper – only 2 storeys high but about 175 meters long.

Each venue presents works by many artists together in very large and architecturally distinctive open spaces using a variety of media including sonic generations both acoustic and electronically amplified. This agglomeration effect creates a unique sonic signature in each space, as the happenstance intermingling of mainly looping sound sources of varying durations performs a perpetually variant yet essentially stable atmospheric affect that cannot help but contribute to visitors experiences of all the artworks in the space.

This recording begins in the Cutaway where I slowly walk around the space as various works take my attention; exiting the cutaway I take a lift to the top of the recreated headland and walk through back streets down to the waterfront again and eventually into the second venue, Pier 2/3, for another perambulation amongst artworks before exiting again into the everyday activity of inner city harbourside Sydney, on Gadigal country of the Eora Nation.

Please visit the Biennale website biennaleofsydney.art to find out about the exhibition, its many artists, events and propositions.

images: top right, Tania Candiani at The Cutaway; lower left, Yuko Mohri at Pier 2/3. photos: gary warner