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Zooming Sydney

2017 Sydney, Australia
Coauthor: Paul Nicola, Sarah Kenderdine

Zooming Sydney is a new media installation conceived for Wynyard Station that leverages the cinematic narrative potential of gigapixel panoramic imaging to create a compelling aesthetic and urban-cultural heritage experience for the users of Wynyard Station, Sydney’s central train station. This artwork presents the world’s largest 360-degree photography of Sydney (in 2014) shot from the Centre Point Tower consisting of 125 billion pixels. Virtual camera movements within this spherical panorama zoom in to specific Sydney locations of special historical, cultural and social significance. These locales are then augmented with rich visual materials selected from the comprehensive archives of the State Library of NSW.

Zooming Sydney combines 195 curated historic images and full screen panoramas with the gigapixel image to create a video of 1.5 hours displayed on a 20m x 3m screen. Located in the central concourse of the train station the work is viewed by over 30,000 locals and tourists per day.

The poetic dynamics across the Sydney’s iconic landscape engage the viewer’s curiosity with increasing fascination as the artwork takes them on its journeys to varied locations. Once arrived, they discover historical panoramas of Sydney as well as relational groupings of photographs, drawings, etchings and watercolours evoking the rich and varied narratives of Sydney’s past. These images have been selected by the artists from the renowned historical and contemporary collections of the State Library, forming one of the most significant historical and documentary archives in Australia. Of special relevance to this artwork are the records of the settlement and development of Sydney, its natural and built environment, and the rich evidence of Sydneysiders from all walks of life.

Through Zooming Sydney, the travellers within Wynyard station voyage outside into Sydney’s spectacular expanse as journeyers from place to place, engaging with the rich urban memory and cultural history that is inscribed in its material fabric and its imaginary. The conjunction of cinematic flow and narrative texture make this artwork perfectly matched to the peripatetic modes of looking and experiencing shared by commuters across Sydney. It’s for people who are on the move, creating a confluence of their travels with the projected movement of Zooming Sydney’s virtual camera as it goes about its own circumlocutory journeys to various destinations - an existential adventure constituted by Sydney’s natural, architectonic and cultural identity.

Zooming Sydney is Commissioned by Transport for New South Wales and in collaboration with the State Library of NSW.

Exhibition Record

2017/6/1 - 6/30:  Wynscreen, Wynyard Station, Sydney, Australia