Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cloud of bats

At dusk, Sydney’s Fruit Bats create a cloud of black winged creatures as they migrate across the city; they are one of the last indigenous creatures left in the heart of the C.B.D.

Ben Baxter, Trent Middleton and I collaborated on " A Cloud of Bats" , an outdoor lighting installation for the Lightwalk - a walk of 25 lighting installations that went from the Opera House around to the historic area of the Rocks on the foreshores of Sydney Harbour. Our installation evoked memories of the nightly bat migration that has existed in areas of Australia for thousands of years, while the sandstone reminds us of the amazing natural landscape on which Sydney exists.

Our fruit bats are now a vulnerable species but they can be legally shot for eating fruit from orchards. The use of proper orchard netting would make this killing unnecessary but netting can be costly and time consuming to install.

Our installation used this orchard netting to support our bat cloud as it flies up to Observatory Hill to feed on the fig trees. We use the colours of sunset ( created from Colourblast LED's) to wash across the magnificent sandstone wall to act as a fitting backdrop for these creatures of the night as they farewell the day.

I found working with Ben (artist/ designer) and Trent (architect) to be very enjoyable. Thanks to our lighting supplier Rick Cale from Xenian, structural engineer Harry Partridge and riggers Jeremy and Lea. Thanks to the Smartlight people for assistance and to all the people who visited the bats and gave us some great feedback. Photography by Sarah Smith.

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