Jeffrey Shaw

Wynscreen contributing artist.

Born 1944, Melbourne, Australia 
Lives and works in Hong Kong 

Zooming Sydney
2017, duration 90 mins, looped 
Sarah Kenderdine, Jeffrey Shaw and Paul Nicola in collaboration with the State Library of NSW
Commissioned by Transport for New South Wales 

Screening times:
6am–3pm on even-numbered days throughout November 2017
3pm–12am on odd-numbered days throughout November 2017

Artist Statement 

Zooming Sydney is a new media installation conceived for Wynscreen that utilises the cinematic narrative potential of gigapixel panoramic imaging to create a compelling aesthetic and urban-cultural heritage experience. This artwork presents the world’s largest 360-degree photography of Sydney (2014) shot from the Sydney Tower (also known as Westfield Centrepoint Tower), consisting of 125 billion pixels. Virtual camera movements within the spherical panorama zoom in to specific Sydney locations of special historical, cultural and social significance. These locales are then augmented with rich visual materials selected from the comprehensive archives of the State Library of NSW.

The poetic dynamics across the Sydney’s iconic landscape engage the viewer’s curiosity with increasing fascination as the artwork takes them to various locations. Once arrived, they discover historical panoramas of Sydney as well as relational groupings of photographs, drawings, etchings and watercolours that evoke the rich and varied narratives of Sydney’s past. These images have been selected by the artists from the renowned historical and contemporary collections of the State Library, forming one of the most significant historical and documentary archives in Australia. Of special relevance to this artwork are the records of the settlement and development of Sydney, its natural and built environment, and the rich evidence of Sydneysiders from all walks of life.

Through Zooming Sydney, travelers within Wynyard station are ‘transported’ outside into Sydney’s spectacular expanse, engaging with the rich urban memory and cultural history that is inscribed in the material and imaginary fabric of the city. The confluence of virtual locations, narrative texture and the commuters’ own travels creates an existential adventure constituted by Sydney’s natural, architectonic and cultural identity.

Production Credits 

  • Conceived and directed by Sarah Kenderdine and Jeffrey Shaw
  • Project management: Sarah Kenderdine
  • Compositing: Paul Nichola
  • Archival material: State Library of NSW, Paula Bray and Maggie Patton
  • Gigapixel photograph: Pixelcase

Artist Biography  

Professor Jeffrey Shaw has been a leading figure in new media art since its emergence from the performance, expanded cinema and installation paradigms of the 1960s to its present day technology and virtualised forms. In a prolific oeuvre of widely exhibited and critically acclaimed works, he has pioneered and set benchmarks for the creative use of digital media in the fields of virtual and augmented reality, immersive visualisation environments, navigable cinematic systems and interactive narrative.

Jeffrey’s artworks are milestones of technological and cultural innovation that have had seminal impact on the theory, design and application of digital media in art, society and industry. His artistic achievements, which are amongst the most cited in new media literature, include Corpocinema (1969), Viewpoint (1975), the laser and slide shows for the GENESIS world tours in the mid 70’s, Points of View (1983), Narrative Landscape (1985), Inventer la Terre (1986), Heavens Gate (1987), Legible City (1989), The Virtual Museum (1991), EVE (1993), Golden Calf (1995), conFiguring the CAVE (1997), The Web of Life (2000), PLACE-Hampi (2006), T_Visionarium (2008), and Pure Land: Inside the Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang (2012).

Jeffrey has received the numerous awards, including: L’Immagine Elettronica Prize, Ferrara, Italy, 1990; The Babelfish Prize of the InterActiva, Babelsberg, Germany, 1995; Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship, 2003; The Oribe Award, Gifu, Japan, 2005; Gold IDEA (International Design Excellence Awards), Industrial Designers Society of America, 2009; Gold Medal, American Association of Museums MUSE Awards, 2010; Lifetime Achievement Award, Society of Art and Technology (SAT), Montreal, Canada, 2014; Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica for Visionary Pioneer of Media Art, Linz, Austria, 2015.