Born 1956, Brisbane.
Lives in Sydney, Australia
2016, duration 60 mins, looped
Commissioned by Transport for NSW
6am-3pm on odd-numbered days throughout February 2021
3pm-12am on even-numbered days throughout February 2021
Bluster Town is an effervescent 'public poetry' display that stipples across the entire Wynscreen surface. Not only a text work, Bluster Town also functions abstractly, as a glistening pattern-piece that enlivens the 20-metre screen with its active lustre. The guiding idea of the display comes from how Sydney and its transport systems offer delights to the eye. The display evokes the glittering of Harbour-water appreciated from ferries, the shimmer of leaves blowing along streets and rail tracks in autumn bluster, and the flickering cabin-lights in passing trains, light rail and buses.
Creating its alluring visual patterns, Bluster Town enhances the surrounding urban design of the Clarence St entrance to Wynyard Station by gently animating verbal expressions that evoke the beauty, poignancy and dynamics of the Sydney environment. It presents an extensive, twinkling display made from hundreds of animated LED-text statements that speak of the emotions, weather, people, modes of mobility, landscapes, waterscapes, compulsions and aspirations that galvanise the sparkling city of Sydney. The checkerboard of stippling, circulating texts not only make sense poignantly and often paradoxically within themselves as they loop, but they also make sense relationally with one another as the viewer scans across the array of dozens of statements smattered across the screen.
The texts evoke the sensory intensities of Sydney places as well as the various historical time-settings that one can sense when traveling across the Sydney landscape in trains, buses, ferries and light rail. The words are designed to fizz and sparkle like snapshot glimpses of the city’s reverie. Among the texts, there is also an underlying, insistent 'map' of indigenous place names that show how the world’s oldest continuous culture, with its vivacity and sensitivity to the spirit of the location, still energises the city today.
Ross Gibson is Centenary Professor in Creative & Cultural Research at the University of Canberra. His work spans several media and disciplines. Recent projects include the books, 26 Views of the Starburst World (2012) and The Summer Exercises (2009), the video installation Street X-Rays (2005–ongoing), and the online photographic poem, Accident Music.
In addition to his academic work, he has been inaugural Creative Director at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (1998-2002) and a Senior Consultant Producer for the establishment of the Museum of Sydney (1993-96). He has served on the Boards of Screen NSW, the Hawke Research Institute and Western Sydney's Information & Cultural Exchange. He has also served as a member of the Foresighting Working Group for the Prime Minister's Science, Engineering and Innovation Council.