Unguarded Moments: A multi-site installation in Millers Point for Art & About Sydney

Esem Projects were commissioned to create Unguarded Moments as part of the City of Sydney's 2011 Art & About Festival.

Project Details

Unguarded Moments was our very first collaborative project. This was a multi-site installation located in Millers Point, adjacent to The Rocks district of Sydney. We used digital projection and mobile audio to capture the characters, industries and lost landscapes of Millers Point, located around the streets, wharves, clifftops and windows of this rapidly gentrifying area. The project responded to the curatorial theme of the 2011 Festival: What if..?


Dr. Sarah Barns: Research and Community engagement, oral histories

Michael Killalea: Creative Direction, Digital Design

Ian Plowman: Installation Design

WHAT IF faces from the past were visible again, watching us in our streets and laneways?

Unguarded Moments was a multi-site installation that used digital projection and sound to explore the documentary archives of Millers Point and Walsh Bay, captured on film, in photographs, and through oral histories and actuality sound recordings.

In this way, we used new technology to re-inscribe the history of the working port, its waterside workers and its residents back into its present day environment, connecting us to the area’s living history and the ties existing within the community today.

Working with the City of Sydney also enabled us to connect with past and present residents of Millers Point, through a series of community workshops in which we invited people to contribute photos that connected them to the area through time.

We were generously supported in this endeavour by the National Film and Sound Archive (with a particular credit to Simon Drake), the State Records Office and the State Library of NSW. The Maritime Union of Australia gave us permission to use original documentary film footage produced in the 1950s by the union's former film unit, the Waterside Workers Film Federation Unit.

You can check out the original website we set up for the project over here.


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