We were very honoured to be the artists chosen to bring Songlines to life, the first indigenous work commissioned exclusively for the sails of the Sydney Opera House in the eighth year of Vivid Sydney.
The piece is a celebration of First Nations' spirituality and culture through the songlines of our land and sky, rejoicing country through a pattern of sharing systems, interconnected history lines and trade routes. Curated by Rhoda Roberts, six indigenous artists of different clans, national estates and territories were selected for an immersive projected artwork that weaves through time and distance. The indigenous artists are Karla Dickens, Djon Mundine, Gabriella Possum Nungurrayi, Reko Rennie, Donny Woolagoodja, and the late Gulumbu Yunupingu.
The key challenge for us was to re-create compositions for each artist that mapped onto the sails. Supplied with only photographs of the artworks, our team of artists needed to re-create each piece and recompose it to work on the curved surface of the sails. We designed in a such a way that we could created movement, build structure and story from one sequence to another. We wanted each stage to feel like a perfect composition and to give every artist their own unique moment. Once we created compositions to suit each artist we began developing different effects and traditional hand crafted animation techniques that were unique to each style. This process allowed us to create content that established a physical relationship with the building going beyond simply projecting beautiful textures and imagery onto the surface.
As a result, the iconic building morphs into an interactive and dynamic space, coming to life, changing its appearance, and even seeming to change its structure. The building disintegrates and the facade peels away to reveal a series of other realms that allows each of the artists to have their own individual and unique moment on the sails and yet still work within a collective sequence throughout the 16-minute piece.