Art comes in many forms and the blank canvas can come in many formats. Artists who choose the streets as their gallery are choosing freedom from the confines of the formal art world. Street art is – often illicit – visually developed in public locations and executed outside of the traditional art venue. While street art particularly gained notoriety during the 1980s, graffiti has been found across the ages from the walls of ancient Pompeii, Northern Island’s political murals or The Great Wall of Los Angeles. They hold importance and value as a stark and visual political statement; a reaction to injustice and social imprisonment and a cry for revolution; a way of creating awareness for socio-political issues and an expression of hope for the future in the effort to reclaim public spaces and beautify the urban environment. But even then, street art – as it has evolved across the last 30 years – is still contained, and as permanent as the street cleaners allow it to be.
But what if street art wasn’t as permanent as being painted on the wall of a building? What if street art also took inspiration, derived from classical art forms such as dance, abstract painting and cinema then fused with cutting-edge imaging technology to temporarily transform a benign built-environment? The latest multi-disciplinary art project ‘Castles Made of Sand’ brings art from the theatre and the gallery onto the street in an epic 21st century style multimedia projection.
The creative team comprised of me joining with Queensland Ballet dancers Jack Lister, Eleanor Freeman and Clare Morehen, Brisbane cinematographer Greg Henderson and Los Angeles based multi-media artist Matt Sheridan – whose ‘Painting In Motion’ was written about in the MyCityLife Magazine #03 Winter Edition – are creating a layered digital artwork in motion that will use the streets of Brisbane as both a theatre and canvas. The plan is to transform the street into a dynamic sensory environment where passersby become part of the artwork as the projected landscape, dancers and paint strokes move around virtually, across and over them. With the flick of a switch, the spectacle will disappear as quickly as it appeared, leaving the streetscape totally unaltered while forever changing how the work’s audience views the neighbourhood around them.
Filmed on location in Brisbane, the evolving sand dunes of Moreton Island are both the inspiration and setting for the collaborative artwork. Queensland Ballet dancer and choreographer Jack developed a fusion of classical and contemporary movement to explore the alchemy of creating solid foundations from shifting elements. Fellow Queensland Ballet dancers Eleanor and Clare were filmed on location by Greg and the crew using the Red Epic cinema camera – the same state-of-the-art camera used to create IMAX features and Hollywood blockbuster movies like PROMETHEUS and similar to the recent TVC for Brisbane Festival, which RUMBLE Creative & Media worked on and can be read about here. The cinematic footage of the dancers is truly epic. But it won’t end there, the footage then has to be treated through another layer of production where Matt adds a digital layer, editing, superimposing and painting into the film frame by frame before finally reassembling it to create the final artwork in motion.
We are making an artwork that serves as a metaphor for Brisbane’s modernity while embracing it’s artists across multiple disciples. ‘Castles Made of Sand’ will bring the art out of the theatre and gallery and onto the street, turning classical mediums on their heads while challenging the notion of what street art, ballet and theatre actually are. The audience will become part of the painting in motion as it dances over them. It will be a selfie-heaven for anyone passing by.