The Rocks Procession (Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority)

In 2011, The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority invited 11 artists, including APE’s Sally Sussman to come together in a ‘laboratory’ environment to explore the potential that The Rocks precinct holds for creating interpretive, site-based work. The Rocks Interpretative Events Incubator artists were: James Brown, Marley Dawson, Paul Gazzola, Julie-Ann Long, rea, Kate Richards, Joey Ruigrok van der Werven, Jeff Stein, Sally Sussman and Lara Thoms. The group came together in August and November 2011 to cook up interpretative events which connect with The Rocks history, absences and people, draw in new Sydney audiences and show off the precinct in new and provocative ways. The Rocks Procession was APE’S response to this challenge.

With sculptor Marley Dawson, APE came up with the idea of an evolving parade, which takes the spectator/participants up the southern half of The Rocks, stopping at 5 sites along the way and performing different activities. Beginning as a Chinese Funeral March in Argyle St, the procession weaves it way up the hill and climaxes in the cavernous Subway to Fort St in a riotous celebratory parade topped by the spectacular burning of an effigy at the end of the tunnel.

Along the way, spectator/participants engage with aspects of everyday life, historical events and ceremonies of the Rocks, such as playing fan-tan on the site of a former gambling den, bringing in the dead during plague times and experiencing the daily grind of the ordinary working people of the past: as they collected wood as, they tracked up and down the vertiginous terrain of the rocks.

In late 2011, Co-curators of the event, Fiona Winning and SHFA’s Michael Cohen presented project concepts created by the team of artists to the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority for selection and development in 2012/2013.

Project details
In development