Local artists take part in San Francisco sister city exhibition

9 August 2011

Urbanition features some of the best and brightest artists Sydney and San Francisco has to offer.
Urbanition features some of the best and brightest artists Sydney and San Francisco has to offer.

A mash-up of the once popular TV drama Water Rats, a fictionalised series about crime on Sydney Harbour, is the centrepiece of Waterways, an ironic dual-channel video artwork by Josephine Starrs, a senior lecturer in film and digital art at the Sydney College of the Arts.

Waterways satirises the impeccable image of Sydney Harbour, and is a joint work by Starrs and fellow artist Leon Cmielewski.

Cmielewski and Starrs are two of the Sydney artists exhibiting as part of the Inaugural San Francisco Sister City Biennial, which was opened by Lord Mayor Clover Moore, at Carriageworks, Sydney, last week. The exhibition Urbanition, 2011 Sister City Biennial first opened in San Francisco in April.

Urbanition features the works of artists from San Francisco and Sydney, which are based around visionary solutions to making each city more "humane, green and liveable". The brief for the artists was to hypothetically "address" their artworks to the mayors of each city.

The exhibition combines wide variety of media including video, sculpture, drawing and performance and range in subject matter from improving immigrant rights to commuting by jetpack.

"Waterways is an ironic look at Sydney Harbour," Justine Topfer, the co-curator of the exhibition says. "It is renowned for its gorgeous water, its glittering skyline, its exclusive dress-circle suburbs, but the water is so polluted commercial fishing is banned. Waterways offers us some visionary solutions to this problem."

To make their video installation, Starrs and Cmielewski talk to the waterways of Sydney and interviewed passengers on ferries for their thoughts on the Harbour. A range of subjects was interviewed, including commuters, fishermen and scientific experts, in order to explore a variety of environmental, social and political issues.

Waterways 2011, by Josephine Starrs and Leon Cmielewski.
Waterways 2011, by Josephine Starrs and Leon Cmielewski.

Josephine Starrs has two decades of experience as a media artist; researching, managing, creating and exhibiting projects, and speaking at international conferences on the subject of new technologies and culture.

In 2003 she curated a major international Dlux Media Arts event in Sydney titled Plaything. It focussed on current and future trends in the field of digital games, featuring key Australian and international game designers, theorists and artists.

Event details

What: Urbanition, 2011 Sister City Biennial

When: 4 August to 3 September 2011

Where: Carriageworks, 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh (corner Codrington Street). See map and directions

Opening times: Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, Saturday 9am to 1pm, Sunday closed

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