Sydney Laneway Art Project
In our neglected alleys, cool stuff that’s not a small bar
Sprucing up the dumpsters, concrete and steel of our CBD backstreets – you know, the ones that haven’t yet been loaded with cool laneway bars – will soon be art, and lots of it.
Next Friday marks the start of the 2011/12 Sydney Laneway Art program, a creative initiative by Amanda Sharrad and Justine Topfer, Australian curators based in San Francisco. This is public art, but not as you know it.
For the fifth year of the project, the duo have chosen seven different projects from Australia and overseas that activate public spaces and challenge us to take a new look at some forgotten passages in our city.
Engaging with a city’s urban fabric is given an altogether different meaning when Magda Sayeg is involved. A leading figure in the knit graffiti movement – that is, guerilla tactics in public spaces with knitting needles and wool as weapons of choice – the Texan artist will be transforming Sussex Lane by swathing it in cosy, striped explosions of woolly joy. There’s even a whole staircase engulfed in expanses of gran’s favourite cloth.
Softening the public space in another way is San Fransisco’s Rebar. Bulletin Place will soon be filled with inflatable modular street furniture, thanks to the Bubbleway ‘social furniture’ system. Maybe grab some Allpress coffee from nearby Utopia, grab a comfy seat and read the paper (or a goss mag) while the world passes by.
Or how about a good perve? A hop and a jump away is Skittle Lane, where there will be a series of giant optical devices grafted onto the lane’s air-con shafts and drainpipes, which will let you peer out to Sydney’s western periphery. Feel free to shout out statements like, “Honey, I can see Villawood from here!”
So yes, you can tell your Melburnian friends that theirs isn’t the only city with cool stuff in its laneways. For at least a little while, the Sydney CBD’s nooks and crannies are going to be smattered with the unexpected.
When: 23 Sep–31 Jan