Using the most intangible of materials – light and air – Brisbane’s historic Spring Hill Reservoir and the Queen Street Mall will be transformed in September and October with two new ephemeral art installations curated by McCarthy-Swann Projects – The Weight of Light and The Size of Air.

As part of a partnership with Brisbane City Council to transform the city’s laneways and public places with artistic activations, contemporary artists Meagan Streader and Kinly Grey have created two large-scale immersive art installations that transform the familiar Brisbane backdrops into sites of wonder, fascination and beauty. 

From Friday 8 September until Saturday 23 September, the heritage-listed Spring Hill Reservoir will take on a futuristic form with a new commission by Brisbane artist Meagan Streader. Streader will use electroluminescent wire to frame the architectural features of the CBD’s most intriguing underground space, which was once the source of water for the City of Brisbane. 

Descending the stairs into the reservoir and walking under and through lines of light carefully mapped by wire, visitors will be immersed in a hypnotic sense of wonder that draws the eye to the history of this important site while reinterpreting and extending its boundaries. Stretched across space, wrapped around architectural features and crafting new shapes and spaces in the air, Streader’s wire creates pathways through familiar locales, inviting visitors to experience the space in a new way.

Exhibited nationally and internationally, Streader’s work reflects the minimalist art of the Light and Space movement and reveals the pervasive role of light in governing physical and social navigations of fabricated spaces. Pushing the limits of light within sculpture and installation, she manipulates, reinterprets and extends upon the boundaries of constructed spaces. Through site-specific interventions, her multidimensional use of light re-orientates the viewer’s relationship to the existing architecture and scale of space.

Artist Kinly Grey

Then, for three days only from Wednesday 25 to Friday 27 October, The Size of Air will transport Brisbane’s striking blue sky to the pavement in an immersive activation in Queen Street Mall. Created by experiential artist Kinly Grey, a pop-up cube with transparent walls will be filled with a thick white fog, with images of a clear blue sky projected across its surface. Visitors entering the calm and reflective cube will walk into a piece of the river city’s sky.

Reducing the field of vision to a dim blur, The Size of Air invites a slower, stiller way of being in the city, transforming Brisbane’s distant sky into a substance their whole bodies can be immersed in, bringing the wonder of the blue sky to the streets.

The Size of Air is the twelfth instalment of Grey’s blue series – an experiment with scale and space to produce immersive, sensory, site-specific environments and ephemeral works inside and outside of galleries. Grey is interested in staging experiences that heighten visceral perception and bodily thinking, and exploring the moments of intense feeling that arise through these experiences.

Kieran Swann of McCarthy-Swann Projects says the wondrous urban activations would transform the two iconic Brisbane locations through inventive, contemporary visions and distinct local character.

“The two springtime art installations invite all to experience a new reflection on the Brisbane cityscape – ephemeral and experiential. It’s a chance to experience art in our city in a new way,” Mr Swann said.

“We’re proud to present these two really visual and immersive pieces of contemporary work by incredible local artists and can’t wait for Brisbanites to step into these spaces to take it all in.”

The Weight of Light
Date: 8 to 23 September 2017
Location: Spring Hill Reservoir, Wickham Terrace, Brisbane – See map

The Size of Air
Date: 25 to 27 October 2017
Location: Queen Street Mall (outside H&M/Uniqlo), Brisbane – See map

The Weight of Light and The Size of Air are supported by Brisbane City Council.

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