PROJECTS N1 How to be a good witness
  N2 Networks of surrender



z x
Machine Image y


Communication is an invitation to misinterpret the other. Linguistic translation circles around this possibility - caught between verisimilitude and sense, it attempts to reconcile both knowing it cannot fully capture either. The space between different languages is mirrored in the gap between different forms of artistic and spatial practice. These practices form out of the broad array of objects, tools, procedures and discourses that accumulate like sediment in the body of the respective disciplines. Translating across these different worlds involves work. Making a map between a diverse and heterogenous series of things and their different intents; drawings, photos, performance and texts, is never a simple matter, while the map that emerges resembles the cartography of unexplored continents, filled with blank spaces and riddled with blind spots.

This art project - first presented at the Prague Quadrennial in June 2011 and redeveloped for the Gwangju Design Biennale - is a game of chinese whispers at the scale of the city. This game is structured around the impossibility of making a map of the city and its streets, between people and their artistic practice. The blank spaces between are not understood as empty zones to be bridged, rather they are overfull with productive potential. They become spaces for a type of translation based in fantasy and speculation.

At the largest scale, the project is a machine for procurement, recording and distribution. Its object is the scenographic potential of the city. At the scale of each node, a single participant is installed in the machine and caught in a circuit of invitation, translation and communication with their neighbours.  Their objective is to make a singular point in the city.


Surrender is the renunciation of control.  When freely given it is an act of ultimate generosity; a leap into potentiality and the rapture of the unknown.  A community is described in this project not by collective similarities but by an individual's willingness to surrender their ideas to another.

Over twenty architects, designers, philosophers and photographers across Sydney have participated in a series of creative conversations, which transform the image of this harbour city from generic postcard perfection to a set of multiplicitous, individual urban narratives.

These are networks of surrender, whose ambition is not the cohesion of a finished, consumerable product, but the construction of new communities for creative work.





How to be a good witness
Australia Contribution to the 'Architecture' section

June 16 – 26, 2011

N: David Burns, Sam Spurr & Adrian Lahoud

Australian National Curator:
Lawrence Wallen

University of Technology, Sydney

Jack Dunbar and Tosh van Veenendaal


Networks of surrender
Sydney, Australia contribution to the 'Communities' section

September 2 – October 23, 2011 

N: David Burns, Sam Spurr & Adrian Lahoud

Gwangju Design Biennalle Artistic Directors:
Seung H-Sang and Ai WeiWei

'Communities' section curator:
Beatrice Galilee and Helen Hejung Choi 

Jack Dunbar and Tosh van Veenendaal


Andrew Benjamin
Barnaby Bennett & Byron Kinnaird
Robert Beson
Thomas Cole & Felicia Huang
Pia Ednie-Brown & Jondi Keane
Erik Escalante & Alina McConnochie
Chris Fox
Richard Goodwin
Tim Gregory & Oliver Watts
Sarah Hearne
Sarah Jamieson & Nadia Wagner
Adam Jasper
Eduardo Kairuz
Frank Minnaërt
Fernando Pino & Lucas Tipene
Tina Salama
Sam Szwarcbord
Leisa Tough
Marcus Trimble
Alexandra Wright