Saturday, June 28, 2008
Yesterday, I spent the afternoon seeing Sydney's harbor (around the Opera House--it really is very beautiful in person) and attending the Biennale. The Biennale is Sydney's contemporary art festival. For my fellow Americans, make sure you pronounce every one of the letters in the title. The festival is on from now until September 7th, and has numerous venues around the city. I decided to take the free ferry service to Cockatoo island for my first festival visit. Cockatoo island is the largest island in Sydney Harbor, and was formally used as a prison and a shipyard. All of the industrial buildings are still standing, and it made for a really excellent contemporary art venue. In most cases, I actually found the buildings more interesting than the artwork. It was all the more interesting when an artist incorporated aspects of the building into their work. William Kentridge projected his video installation onto bricked up windows and walls of one darked room--as you watched these cartoony cutouts move across the wall, it became very hard to decipher what was video and what was the building structure. My other favorite was Mark Boulos, who set up two projection screens opposite each other. One showed scenes from the stock exchange trading floor the other showed guerillas in Nigeria talking about waging war against 'all things white.' It was actually really fascinating to watch.