Public art in giant Broadway premiere
A 12-metre screen at UTS Central is screening new large-scale digital artworks by leading Australian artists.
Is this a case of COVID-19 taking us back to the future?
In the early days of television, people might gather outside shop windows to view programs on the small screens inside.
Now, with the pandemic restricting how we use our public spaces, UTS Gallery and Art Collection has unveiled a series of new large-scale digital artworks that can be viewed by passers-by on the Broadway footpath.
The UTS Broadway Screen is a 12-metre-long digital screen dedicated to screening digital art by Australian artists. The premiere program includes new commissions by leading Australian artists Daniel Crooks, Grant Stevens and Patrina Munuŋgurr and Ishmael Marika of The Mulka Project.
New acquisitions include a significant video work by Daniel Boyd, with further commissions and acquisitions by artists including Cigdem Aydemir and Angela Tiatia to premiere from late 2020 to 2021.
“These artists were chosen for the distinct ways in which they articulate the social, cultural and environmental conditions that define us. Art and artistic practice play an important role in shaping how we see ourselves and seek to understand each other,” UTS Curator Stella Rosa McDonald said.
“This ambitious program of commissions and acquisitions brings new digital artworks into the UTS Art Collection and supports the creation of new work by some of Australia’s best artists.”
The Broadway Screen in located in UTS Central, a student hub and faculty space at the heart of the UTS campus. New commissions speak to the diversity of perspectives and experiences of the UTS community, and respond to the site as a busy city pedestrian corridor and as an entryway to a centre of knowledge exchange.
Rarranhdharr (The Late Dry Season) is a collaboration between Yolŋu artists Patrina Munuŋgurr and Ishmael Marika, working together as The Mulka Project. In the film, a group of Yolŋu map the various environments they encounter as they walk on their ancestral lands. As they walk, a drone and a widescreen camera register types of food that are ready to harvest during Rarranhdharr (the late dry season). The film shows how Yolŋu have navigated their lands for tens of thousands of years and invites viewers to visit their world, be with their people and experience the time of Rarranhdharr.
A new work by Daniel Crooks, Static No.25 (George Street, March 1), is a study in time and motion – part abstraction, part data graphic and part anthropological film. The work was filmed in the Sydney CBD and produced between two periods of extreme environmental and social change: the 2019-20 Australian bushfire season and the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.
Art and artistic practice play an important role in shaping how we see ourselves and seek to understand each other.
Stella Rosa McDonald, UTS Curator
Crooks says the footage feels historic, as it captures citizens moving in, and recovering from, a period of environmental pollution and devastation and engaging in an everyday social activity – walking together in the city – that only weeks later, was no longer possible.
Grant Stevens’ Below the mountains and beyond the desert, a river runs through a valley of forests and grasslands, towards an ocean depicts a computer-generated landscape programmed to change and evolve over a limitless duration. In a context where digital technologies and interfaces often compete for slices of our fragmented attention, this artwork reminds us to reflect on and tune into the rhythms and cycles of the natural environment.
The UTS campus is not currently open to the general public, but the artworks are visible from the street at 61 Broadway. Video interviews with the artists, a screening timetable and further information can be found here.