You’ve passed through them and passed by them. Maybe you’ve even sat in their dappled light. Micro Parks is a new art project that re-imagines the trail of often-forgotten parks dotted throughout the inner west as sites for creative interventions by artists. “What attracted me to those parks is that they’re so odd and in quite unusual spaces,” says curator Jeff Khan. “They’re squeezed between housing developments or industrial areas. They’re so mysterious and because of their size and their tucked away locations, they’re underutilised. They seemed like the perfect opportunity to invite artists to make new work.” [fold]
Four teams of artists will occupy these tiny patches of greenery in Erskineville and Newtown over a long weekend in January as part of a joint project between the Sydney Festival and Performance Space. Sarah Goffman will lead a Japanese-Australian tea ceremony, while Kate Mitchell will implant a “social sculpture” of lucky four-leaf clovers. Martin del Amo and Julie-Anne Long are choreographing a suburban dance odyssey called Benched, while Jess Olivieri and Parachutes for Ladies will transform a triangle of parkland into a momentary urban paradise using performance, installation and film.
Micro Parks is the latest in a spate of art projects venturing out of the white-walled gallery zone and offered free to the public. Khan hopes that injecting everyday spaces with inspired, folkloric significance might even change the way Sydneysiders see their city beyond the project’s three-day lifespan.
Although Performance Space lives at Carriageworks, Jeff Khan sees the city as a living artwork which is ripe for more creative invasion. “Micro Parks is a temporary transformation. It’s about drawing people’s attention to these spaces that they might pass everyday and prompt them to reconsider them, to view them more imaginatively and creatively.
“A lot of the parks have been preserved as public spaces through community lobbying,” he says. “They’re little symbols of people power. Micro Parks is great from that perspective to celebrate people power preserving public space in a city full of dodgy property developments and commercialism.”
Micro Parks runs from January 11 to 13, 2pm–7pm at parks across Newtown and Erskineville. The event is free.