Curator Dr Naomi Stead invited artists, an architect, and a writer, among others, to provide original maps of the harbour city. The result is a project that straddles the divide between artistry and functionality, revealing sides of Sydney that rarely get a look-in in the old Gregory’s.
That said, “you wouldn’t want to use the map to get yourself anywhere,” laughs visual communications designer Kate Sweetapple, speaking about her Map of Sydney: Avian Surnames. With a little help from the Cumberland Bird-Watching Society and her trusty White Pages, Sweetapple painstakingly tracked down the addresses of all those Sydney-siders who have birds as their namesakes and plotted the results. The result is beautiful, intricate, and unmistakeably Sydney.
“I had become interested in creating a map of Sydney that marked the territory in something other than the usual sort of geographical structures, I suppose, or the physicality of the environment,” Sweetapple says. “One of the things I was really most interested in is the contradiction between this sort of authoritative cartographic language, which had the longitudes and the latitude and the key, in contrast to this content which was almost absurd … I was sort of interested in that play, and how we view authoritative visual language, and how easily those preconceptions can be undone.”
For the record, 213 Swans and 134 Finches nest in Sydney, but (mercifully) we have only one Seagull.
Until 25 Sep. DAB LAB Research Gallery, Lvl 4 Courtyard, 702 Harris St, Ultimo.