North Bank Wharf will be home to a new interactive public artwork that will take people back to a cityscape of 19th century Melbourne. Commissioned by the City of Melbourne, the new work Apparatus for Transtemporal Occurrence of Impending Space, is a human-scale machine that sees into a fictionalised future.
The highly seductive surfaces of machined and cast bronze, brass, steel and copper celebrate the aesthetic of early science fiction – with a nod to the pioneer of the science fiction, genre Jules Verne – and the beauty of engineered objects reminiscent of Victorian times.
Artist Russell Anderson said the work was recently restored after a period of 80 years in storage. “Viewers are prompted to consider the nature of time and how we understand what was, ponder what is and speculate on possible futures.”
Anderson weaves a compelling narrative of possible futures and imaginary worlds, drawing on the utopian wonder and great optimism characteristic of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The work is reminiscent of contemporary steam-punk style, characterised by anachronistic technologies, fashion, architecture and art.
In a delightfully playful approach, viewers turn a crank handle that activates an automata theatre hidden within the porthole. Trams, period cars, dirigibles and other peculiar scientific inventions are illuminated and glide through a fantastical cityscape of miniature 19th century Melbourne.
Russell Anderson is an artist who designs, fabricates and installs permanent and ephemeral works in the public domain. Over the last 17 years Russell has exhibited both nationally and internationally, including community, corporate, state and local government public art commissions throughout Queensland and other Australian states.
Apparatus for Transtemporal Occurrence of Impending Space is on display at the Middle Promenade – North Bank Wharf (opposite Polly Woodside). For more information, visit: www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/publicart for details.
Image: Apparatus for Transtemporal Occurrence of Impending Space