Camera Obscura at Sydney Contemporary 2017

Robyn Stacey, acclaimed Australian photographic artist, created the camera obscura 'Double Take' for Sydney Contemporary, 2017. Here she discusses the project:

The camera obscura room for Sydney Contemporary, commissioned by Deutsche Bank has been created in collaboration with Mike Stiff (Stiff and Trevillion) and purpose built for the site at Carriageworks.

I started making camera obscura rooms in 2013. I was fascinated by the ability of the simplest and earliest form of optical device to transform the interior of rooms by projecting the outside world via a small hole over the walls, ceiling and floor of the room. As light travels in a straight line the room is wallpapered with the upside down and reverse view of external vistas.

Given that the camera obscura explores the malleability of the visible world and raises fundamental questions about vision and how we are in the world, the Sydney Contemporary camera obscura cube takes this to another level by cladding the cube with a highly reflective surface. Now the room/cube mirrors the houses, trees, cars and pedestrians moving over its surface both reflecting an impression of the streetscape and becoming one with it, camouflaged and ‘disappeared’ into the site.

The cube was illuminated night using the mirror surface to create fields of colour against the evening sky. The exterior and interior of the room are about light and shadow, reflected light, projected light, and change. Visitors to the Art Fair had an opportunity to experience the room as a theatrical spatial device allowing them to encounter the streetscape at Redfern in a unique and surreal way.

'Double Take' will now take up permanent residence in the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.

Photography by Steven Siewert