Daan Roosegaarde’s Dune is the best kind of contemporary art. A combination of inventive new technology, themes and ideas of humanity in the 21st century that is astonishing and strangely beautiful. He has created something very human, something we can interact with – touch, feel and hear – and something that makes us think.
Dune has been installed in the Dogleg Tunnel that burrows through Cockatoo Island. Along the sandstone walls, hundreds of optical fibres jut out, covering hidden sensors, speakers and steel microphones leading back to the all-important software that causes the artwork to modify as it is viewed. It is a social design, responding to each viewer’s unique sounds and movements. It begs us to think about architecture, people and technology and how each interrelates, both now and in the future.
This is unsurprising, given Roosegaarde’s previous investigations of architecture and fine art. In addition to exhibiting similarly interactive social artworks across the world, Roosegaarde is a fervent researcher into the machinery of our contemporary age. Dune has been produced by Roosegaarde’s studio, a group of engineers and designers with whom he collaborates to explore and bring to life such ideas.
Perhaps Roosegaarde’s best-known artwork, Dune was originally produced in 2006 in The Netherlands and after showings in Israel, America, Indonesia, China and Canada among others, it has been brought to Sydney thanks to Scanlan & Theodore with the Biennale of Sydney. The fashion label has also created a film to accompany Dune, titled DuneX, which can be viewed below. Here, a lone girl wanders through the installation in a Scanlan & Theodore dress, demonstrating the expansive beauty of Roosegaarde’s work.
This year’s Biennale is titled all our relations and it comes as no surprise that Roosegaarde’s work was an obvious inclusion. As part of Cockatoo Island’s subtitle Stories, Senses and Spheres, it sits alongside Fujiko Nakaya’s incredible fog sculpture, another exhibition highlight.
Dune: Cockatoo Island’s Dogleg Tunnel, 18th Biennale of Sydney runs until September 16.