Cockatoo Island becomes Embassy of the Real

Embassy of the Real, cockatoo island biennale of sydeny

Oh the simplicity and joy of hanging out with one child! Today it was just the biggest lad and I. We made the most of it by catching the ferry to Cockatoo Island. Cockatoo Island has been transformed into the Embassy of the Real for the Biennale of Sydney (#20BOS). Each of the venues for the biennale has been renamed as an Embassy.

Embassy of the Real, Cockatoo Island biennale of Sydney
Embassy of the Real, Cockatoo Island biennale of Sydney

The biggest lad is only five so I was a little apprehensive about how interested he’d be in the instillations. To my surprise, he really soaked it all in. We even tagged along on a free tour of the Embassy of the Real and lasted the full 45 minutes! While the target audience of the biennale might not be kids, it’s very kid friendly. Cockatoo Island has wide open spaces to explore and not being in a gallery, there’s no expectations for quite voices. The biggest lad picked up a biennale passport and got an Embassy of Real stamp. You can collect passport stamps at each of the Embassies.

Embassy of the Real, cockatoo island biennale of Sydney
Embassy of the Real, cockatoo island biennale of Sydney

Now, I’m not an arty type. Yet even without a keen eye for art, I found aspects of the biennale and the Embassy of the Real fascinating. The slogan for the biennale is “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed’. Maybe the future as we imagined it has basically arrived. Yet in a technological sense, perhaps that future is not equal. On to the art!

Art at the Embassy of the Real

Embassy of the Real, cockatoo island biennale of sydney

There are some huge instillations in the industrial and convict spaces on Cockatoo Island. There’s the blimp, or more accurately, Willing To Be Vulnerable by Lee Bul. The biggest lad had lots of questions about how the art was put in to place. In the convict’s sleeping quarters is Conscious Sleep by Chiharu Shiota. This combination of art and convict building really confused the biggest lad.
Embassy of the Real, cockatoo island biennale of sydney dance

Perhaps our favourite instillation was Nowhere and everywhere at the same time by William Forsythe. It’s one of those pieces that encourages and requires audience participation. You walk among the moving parts, and I guess your attempts at avoiding the wires is intended to be like dance. Everyone who tried it finished with a huge smile on their face. It’s also a great people watching opportunity.

The biennale runs until 5 June 2016. If you are in Sydney, you really must explore the Embassy of the Real or one of the other Embassies. Cockatoo Island is worth a visit too, the view is gorgeous.

Embassy of the Real, cockatoo island biennale of Sydney

What’s on the agenda for you this school holidays? We’re planning some fishing later this week.

Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT

16 thoughts on “Cockatoo Island becomes Embassy of the Real

  1. I love the idea of taking kids to see art exhibitions, but when our then three year old ran, with arms outstretched, to Monet’s ‘Waterlillies’ at the National Gallery and tried to touch it, freaking out security and setting off alarms, well, I’m still nervous 🙂 This looks like a better option!

    1. It is amazing Samantha. If you visit while the Biennale is on you’ll get to kill two birds with one stone!

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