From Sydney to Japan Via an Elaborate Art Installation

From Sydney to Japan Via an Elaborate Art Installation
(Images Courtesy Shopfront Sydney)

A free public event developed around an elaborate art installation that incorporates sculpture, dance, sound, interactive electronics, and live streaming to connect the cities of Sydney, Australia and Yokahama, Japan is currently taking place simultaneously at the Cleland Bond building, The Rocks and the new Izayoi Yoshidamachi Studio, Yokohama. 

Commissioned by Sydney’s Shopfront contemporary arts and performance centre, the CITYLIGHTS event gives members of the public in Sydney and Yokahama the opportunity to connect via simple “city modules” – small-scale models of city buildings – which will pulse with a warm glow and play sounds unique to each city in response to the movements of trained performers and members of the audience. Half the installation is in Australia, controlled by an Australian audience and half the installation is in Japan, controlled by a Japanese audience.

The project is being lead by David Kirkpatrick, an Australian sound and multimedia artist and Anna Kuroda, a Japanese choreographer, dancer and designer, who have joined forces under the guise of the newly established intercultural company Murasaki Penguin.  David is responsible for the “city modules” and projected video link between the two sites, while Anna has trained a team of young artists in Sydney to move within the installation, exploring emotional and physical distance, the fragility of nature and the human body, and technology's effect on communication.

“Working with Anna for three years, collaborating on projects together and between countries has led to an interest in the differences between emotional and physical distance, how you can be in the same room yet a world away, or 7000km apart but closer than ever,” David Says. “I’m interested in the effect developments in technology are having on this divide. Is our use of new technologies bringing us together or pushing us further apart?,” asks David.

“The initial spark of inspiration for CITYLIGHTS came from one room in Karlsruhe, Germany. When David and I entered the room we totally lost our sense of place,” Anna explains.  “It took a while to understand what we were seeing – what the purpose of the room could be. Our questions: ‘Where has our environment come from?’ ‘Where are we?’ ‘What is surrounding us?’”

CITYLIGHTS aims to create an experience that is both subtle and beautiful – blending the natural environment, surrounding architecture, and themes of the work. Through their collaborative project, David and Anna create one inter-cultural space where the public can create a shared light and sound composition. The installation is open until the 20th of January between the hours of 2pm and 8pm in Sydney and Yokahama.   To follow the development process head to the Murasaki Penguin Blogsite.

The project is proudly supported by Performance Space, Japan Foundation, ST Spot, and Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority; however Murasaki Penguin are seeking to raise $2500 towards supporting Anna’s costs for the project and have set up a Pozible campaign.

See David and Anna explain their project in the video below.