Technical Manager + Project Delivery: Minh Au
Project Manager + Engineering Consultant: Gunjit Kaur
Electrical Consultant: Ajaykumar Daya
Lighting Control Systems Consultant & Sponsor: Taylor Chadwick
Photography, Videography & Social Media Outreach: William Wei
Concept Graphics: Karen Lin
As if in an ethereal dream, Oasis is an installation born from its site: a pair of tucked-away ponds traversed by an old timber bridge in the heart of Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens, dedicated to the memory of “forgotten Australians” who grew up in institutional care.
600 individually programmed lights rise out of water and haze, synchronising with one another to form a colourful ecosystem responsive to musicality, bobbing and swaying to the winds. From afar, the lights beckon to all who pass by – up close the lights lead the viewer to a place of deep reflection.
OASIS is a collection of stories, a collection of memories, a collection of voices, a collection of feelings, told through the lens of childhood. In particular, the paradox of fragility and resilience. OASIS explores the primal conditions of a disrupted childhood: how children are vulnerable to neglect, loneliness, abuse, but are also resilient to these negative forces through journeys to imagined worlds: adventures, challenges, and exploration into the unknown. The resilience of a child’s mind is the critical point at which the installation shines through. Growth is a process of overcoming barriers.
The paradox of fragility and resilience is also explored in the very material makeup of the piece. High-strength, high-flexibility, custom-moulded ABS plastic extrusions were the result of extensive tests that provided an ultra-thin aesthetic while maintaining structural integrity against storms and animal contact, the flexibility of the material allows the top-heavy mass of the ball lights to gently sway in the wind and to introduce organic, collective movement. At water level, weighted amber glass bottles act as ballasts for these light units, and serves as elegant contact nodes that blend into the natural colour of the Twin Ponds.
OASIS required a stable set of software to ensure smooth, in-sync signalling for over 100 hours spread across a period of 20 days in a fully outdoor environment. ETA Australia was kind enough to assist our team with lighting systems and provided us with reliable hardware. A trickle-down system was used to sync the 20-minute theatrical soundtrack with external speaker systems, simultaneously live time-code data is sent to trigger semi-preprogrammed lighting animations through 12 signal outlets.
A big thank you also to our sponsors ETA Auatralia; Events Engineering, G&M Cosmetics, William Wei Films and Sydney PA for their unwavering support, and to our suppliers RDT & KB Extrusions for working tirelessly to ensure product functionality. Last but not least, we thank Bloodline Productions, AGB Events, Destination NSW and The Royal Botanic Garden Trust for the amazing opportunity to bring OASIS to such a large audience. Special Thanks also to our pre-assembly helpers Jeffrey Blewett, Ben Li, Aditi Bhalla, Adrian Thai, Albert Truong, David Barko, Gursimrat Bawa, Eden Manouk, Thuy Au and Dai Nguyen.
This is Peter the possum, a native resident to the Botanic Garden who came down nightly to support our pre-show tests!
Veils of immersive natural soundscapes; old-time radio narration snippets; haunting lyrical melodies; poignant percussion and deep, atmospheric bass-lines reverberate throughout to drive the experience of the installation.
ABN: 13 993 476 802 | All rights reserved. James Feng Design© 2019.