"Stop, Look, Live": an ode to Sydney's public spaces
By Pauline Askin
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Bartenders tossing bottles in the air, a man who talks to eels and the etiquette of park chess are all part of an Australian exhibition telling the story of some of Sydney's most beloved public spaces.
Inspired by a book about drawing the city, curator Nerida Campbell and her team at the Museum of Sydney fanned out across the streets, choosing five public spaces and talking to people about how they enjoy them.
"It opened my eyes to how much Sydneysiders valued their public space," she told Reuters of the "Public Sydney: Stop, Look, Live" exhibit.
"Talking to people about buildings and how they love the carvings and the sandstone. These are not architects, just people who walk past."
Ultimately the curators chose places representing five aspects of Sydney life: the Museum of Sydney as a cultural site, Hyde Park as a green site, Central Station as a transport hub, Town Hall as a political building and Bennelong Point, with its view of the Sydney Opera House and harbor foreshore, as an iconic tourist site.
Setting up the exhibit, which includes photographs, drawings, objects and video, brought a number of unexpected discoveries and surprises.
One of them was Max, a middle-aged man who talks with eels at a pond at Bennelong Point on Sydney Harbour, Campbell said.
"I assumed people go to the Botanic Gardens to relax and spend time with their families, but Max told me he goes there to interact with the eels. He has a thing about eels, he understands them," she said. Continued...