5 fleeting public art works

See five fleeting public art works in the city this spring, from responsive park benches to kinetic sound sculptures.

Public art can be something to look at or something to experience; permanent or there one day, gone the next. It is designed to make daily life more wondrous and shine a light on interesting concepts.

We support creative people to experiment with temporary art in the public realm through our Test Sites program. Artists must respond to a specific site brief, supported by funding and expert guidance.

Here are five new works in development to look out for in the coming months.

1. When echoes find light
Charlotte McCombe and Chuan Khoo
What would it be like if a park bench could interpret your presence and respond to you through motion and light? Find out at Argyle Square in Carlton from 9 to 25 September nightly from 6pm.

2. The Crossing
Roarawar Feartata
Step into the unknown with performance duo Roarawar Feartata at undisclosed city intersections this September.

3. Shifting Ground
Matthias Schack-Arnott and Keith Tucker
Move across a responsive platform that invites you to consider humankind’s relationship to the environment as a precarious balancing act. Get kinetic at Trades Hall in Carlton in November.

4. Here
Stephen Banham
Ponder how places in our city can inspire its thinkers, creators and innovators.  Look out for historical markers that commemorate real or imagined histories outside State Library Victoria and beyond in November and December.

5. Double Vision
Office Feuerman
See the city in new ways as mirrored structures playfully distort familiar surroundings in an installation at Queen Victoria Market in November and December.

To find out more, visit Test Sites.

A person standing outside a building

Stephen Banham

Five minutes with a Test Sites creator

We asked Stephen Banham – a typographer, type designer, writer, lecturer and founder of typographic studio Letterbox – to share a little about the inspiration behind Here.

What inspired you to create this work?
Here (the full name is: It was around about Here) is a response to the way we memorialise.

In our cities we have countless plaques and monuments for people and birthplaces and so on, but none showing the birthplace of the actual contributions – ideas.

Here flips this on its head by using a ridiculously loud and graphic means to indicate the spot where the most incidental, inconsequential (yet oddly profound) ideas were born.

It is an idea I have had for quite some time.

The Test Sites program has allowed me to bring this very simple piece of storytelling to the streets. Put simply, it’s a really loud work leading to a beautifully gentle whisper.

Why do you think public art and moments of wonder are important in our daily lives?
Public art gives the beautiful and intangible elements of our lives – ideas – a physical form, albeit temporarily in the case of Test Sites.

They allow us to ponder for a moment about why some ideas are considered significant and others are not.

Coming from the design industry we are trained in giving what are often unnecessary products and services a disproportionate amount of attention – so this is really a critique of that process.

Where can people find Here?
Do go and see it for yourself. It will be on the corner of Cardigan and Queensberry streets, on the wall of RMIT Building 55.

A neon sign on a red brick wall

‘Here’ uses loud graphics to indicate the spot where inconsequential yet profound ideas were born