17th Biennale of Sydney - Cockatoo Island

I was lucky enough to work with the Sydney Biennale team for a day on Cockatoo Island, Sydney harbour, a few weeks ago. The last time I was there was for the pretty awesome Nick Cave curated festival 'All Tomorrow's Parties' in Jan 09. Cockatoo Island was the perfect venue.

Cockatoo Island


Joel Silbersher

Nick Cave's collection of cats

The theme for the Biennale is (it is on until August) ''The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age''.
Among the prominent artists to exhibit are the French-American sculptor Louise Bourgeois, Paul McCarthy of the US, John Bock from Germany, Cai Guo-Qiang from New York, Isaac Julien from Britain, and Australian Fiona Hall.

Here are some photos of Berlin-based French artist Kader Attia's 'Kasbah' - an installation representing a shanty town, filling the Turbine Hall with a patchwork of corrugated iron and scrap materials.

It invites the audience to walk on the roofs, making it a somewhat interactive experience and reflects the conditions in which the majority of the population lives. In my opinion, it was a strong and effective statement by the artist.

I 'manned' this installation for a couple of hours and it was interesting to observe the reactions and behaviour of different people (children and adults). Some people just tromped and plodded along as if it was just another floor to walk on and others, mainly children, seemed to tread carefully and cautiously with a sense of contemplation...

The Biennale is worth checking out and you have to love those free ferry rides across the harbour. It is also taking place at the MCA and the Botanic Gardens.