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 Education & Infographics /  06 July 2017


Sam Doust was commissioned to create a moving canvas for a permanent installation at Sydney Opera House 'The Lounge, enabled by Samsung' is part of the Renewal Program, that will see a significant evolution of some of the internal spaces of Sydney Opera House.

The brief was an invitation to artfully interpret a subject I know pretty deeply (Sydney Opera House), and have the resulting artwork on permanent display at SOH for thousands of people to see every day.

Samsung supplied a high density LED screen (comprised of a multiple of smaller units) that allows for a 1:1 diode per pixel in the display of a 1920—1080 image. Yes, that's 2,073,600 diodes/pixels! When the films are correctly projected as 30Mbps H264 videos, the result renders a remarkable quality in colour depth, steady frame rate and fine line detail.

In collaboration with SOH staff, I identified six themes that would ground the abstract visuals, and which aligned with the philosophy behind the broader Renewal Program. These included the Creative Spirit that the place embodies and hosts; a Nexus, in terms of intersection between so many cultural elements; Design Heritage, Meeting Place, Renewal and Performance.

I had for some time imagined a series of images and sequences that related to Sydney Opera House in terms of forms in the architecture, design and engineering of the building. They were exciting aesthetically, but not really appropriate for previous projects; this was the perfect project to explore them.

The main sequence was a giant sphere, its internal and external forms reflecting the interior and exterior of the shells of Sydney Opera House. The sphere in its entirety is the ultimate expression of the geometry of the building, clad on the outside with the chevron pattern of the tile lids, and ribbed on the inside. Internally and externally this illustrates the perfect geometric solution that was found for articulating the spherical geometry of the final roof form of Sydney Opera House.

I also explored the intersection between Utzon's designs and Peter Hall's by filming them in 4K and mirroring them to celebrate the union and the repetition of the form, which is an aesthetic in its own right.

The recreation of an ancient Bennelong Point also enabled us to tell the visual story of the location as a meeting place stretching back thousands of years. Alongside paintings by Conrad Martens and Joseph Lycett, the CG sequence imagines the forested promontory and the tidal island, heaped with middens that would eventually become the location of Sydney Opera House.

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