Artists create the extraordinary with Nomanslanding

Artists create the extraordinary with Nomanslanding

Senior SCA lecturer Robyn Backen is one of five leading artists from Australia and Europe who have created a 120 metre floating art work, Nomanslanding on Darling Harbour as part of the commemorations for the ANZAC Centenary.

Up to 20,000 visitors will have the opportunity to take part in the immersive, reflective experience that will be located in the heart of Darling Harbour from 2 April - 3 May 2015.

Robyn Backen along with former SCA lecturer Nigel Helyer and SCA alumni Jennifer Turpin have collaborated with Andre Dekker from the Netherlands and Graham Eatough from the UK to conceive Nomanslanding.

The work that spans public art, sculpture, theatre, sound design and environmental installation is envisioned as a poetic reminder of the isolation, uncertainty - and occasionally the fleeting unity – experienced by soldiers on both sides of the War.

Artist Robyn Backen, who co-ordinates the Masters of Studio Art at SCA, said: “It is not a work of celebration; rather it is a work of contemplation. It offers a space for the audience to consider states of vulnerability.

“This floating artwork is a unique collaboration between five artists from Sydney, Glasgow and Rotterdam. This collaboration has been a truly wonderful learning experience - filled with exciting, creative challenges.”

Nomanslanding draws on the maritime military heritage of three urban waterways: Darling Harbour in Sydney, The River Clyde in Glasgow, and the former Eisenbahnhafen in Duisburg Ruhrort, Germany.

It features a pair of floating, extendable walkways reminiscent of early 20th century naval pontoon bridges. Visitors approach from opposing shores across the water in an unfamiliar no man’s land, to arrive in a dome structure in the middle of the bay.

The dome is split in two so that visitors can peer at each across a 10 metre water divide, with the Sydney cityscape rising above them beyond the bay. The two dome halves then move together and visitors from opposing sides are united in a chapel-like, shared space for contemplation. A whispering architecture forms in the curve of the dome, creating new resonance. There is sound and song, a poetic journey of a soldier’s experience.

The installation is a co-commission by Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Glasgow Life/Merchant City Festival and Urbane Kunste Ruhr/Ruhrtriennale.
Michael Cohen, Creative Producer at Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority said: “This creative collaboration between Australian, British and German organisations represents a poignant partnership between historical foes, 100 years on from the war that reshaped the globe. It has been a privilege to work with these artists as they created something so extraordinary.”

Following the Sydney premiere, Nomanslanding will tour to Glasgow in Scotland and the annual music and arts festival Ruhrtriennale in Germany.