For performance artist Lauren Brincat, the suburb of Randwick is a place of deep significance and community. It’s where she gave birth to her daughter, where she taught art students at UNSW, and it will soon be the site of her largest collaborative artwork.

Brincat’s upcoming artwork, When do I breathe?, is an hour-long procession that includes over 30 community members, such as nurses, dancers and choir members. It’s through Randwick’s Health and Innovation Precinct – an area spanning UNSW, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District and Sydney Children’s Hospital Network.

Why? Because Brincat wants to draw attention to the risks frontline workers face every day, especially the many women who work night shifts or need to commute after dark.

Never miss a Sydney moment. Make sure you're subscribed to our newsletter today.


“We’ve just been reminded that our safety is never guaranteed,” says Brincat, speaking to Broadsheet days after Sydney’s Bondi Junction tragedy. “There’s a collective heaviness in the air and I’d like to extend an invitation to everyone to join us, to walk together, to be seen and heard, and to contribute to the collective effort of making our community feel safer.”

The Precinct and Transport for NSW’s Safer Cities Program, which commissioned the performance, wants to improve night-time connectivity and comfort in the precinct. During the procession, the artist will hold a massive handwoven cotton gauze.

The walk is at 5pm – timed between the end of a working day and the beginning of a working night, to bring together workers who are often separated by different shifts and daily rhythms. Anyone can join the free two-hour performance at any time.

Brincat had countless conversations in the year leading up to this week’s performance – all of which have informed the work’s meaning.

“There’s an element of trust between the artist and the community,” says Brincat. “When you’re working with people who belong and have a sense of place, it gives the work so much more depth and meaning.

“Society has had a lot of divide and ‘sides’ lately … so I’ve really focused on creating a feeling of coming together,” Brincat says. “I hope people can feel like they can tell their story afterwards, can meet someone on this walk, feel a part of the community and not feel so isolated.”

When do I breathe? takes place at 5pm on Wednesday April 24 at UNSW Randwick Scientia Lawn.