Arborous Ornthica - The Birdtree

South Sydney Council
Publication Type:
The Birdtree
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Background This artwork was commissioned by South Sydney City Council for their new administration centre at Lawson Square, Redfern. The councils aim was to acquire a public art piece that would be representative of the diversity of the community. The design was for a whimsical, larger-than-life, multi-media tree of fantastical birds grown from the imaginations of the councils inhabitants. Contribution - Tom Rivard and myself were the artists, co-ordinators and managers of the project (50% workload each). The design of each bird was generated by the local community and the construction of each bird was collaboration with local artists. The project demanded the organization of a wide range of collaborators for its production: council, sound artists, structural engineers and builders, local artists, local community groups and school children. Significance The artwork was part of the preliminary research for my doctorate on Performative Architecture, which focused on bodily relationships to built environments. The Birdtree explored how people connect to and understand public art. The project was successful in engaging the local community on several levels, engendering a sense of ownership of the artwork. This was achieved through the interactive sound-scape, its location across a variety of viewing points and, most importantly, its design by community participation.
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