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A new generation of designers, makers, technologists and innovators is teaming up with artists to re-imagine Sydney’s inner city streets from the perspective of the cyclist in a major night-time festival this week.

Transforming a new community space on Oxford Street, Paddington and taking over the UNSW Art & Design Campus, the Bespoke City festival will include a series of installations, projections and interactive artworks.

Collectively they turn the spotlight on the bicycle as a humble but brilliant piece of technology, and share a vision of the city as open to being hacked, remapped and remade.

Bespoke City is part of UNSW Galleries’ First Fridays program, in which the Galleries stay open late on the first Friday of each month to host lively events engaging in contemporary art and culture.

Artist and co-curator Laura Fisher said Bespoke City would appeal to everyone: “This is one for the makers, the pedalers and the whole family.”


James Gulliver Hancock, Town Hall Mural (2014) installation detail. Courtesy the artist and City of Sydney. Hancock will be leading UNSW Art & Design students in the development of a new mural for Bespoke City.

Bespoke City features more than 20 artworks, workshops and installations, including:

  • Pedal powered light mural – Climb on and peel back the layers of the city. See Sydney in flux as your pedalling efforts produce variations in light, colour and space. Artists: Jonathon Bolitho, Jeong Greaves, Jobe Williams, Mackenzie Nix.
  • Autonomous painting machine – A robot-painter that tracks human movements to create curious images, prompting viewers to think about how machine intelligence is influencing our lives. Artist: Jeffrey Wood
  • Bicycles that make music – Create a slow groove or some fast electronic beats as you collaborate with other riders to fill the campus with a unique and evolving sound piece. Artists: Milkcrate Events.
  • Microbiology in the urban wild – Examine the city at the molecular level using a bike-powered laboratory created by the first Citizen Scientist molecular biology lab. Artists: BioFoundry
  • A virtual ride from Paddington to Rozelle – ‘Veloscape’ is an immersive video work in which your pedalling takes you on a traverse of the city. Artists: Volker Kuchelmeister and Laura Fisher
  • Giant data visualisation – Watch the ebb and flow of rider movements around Sydney, with a specially commissioned work inspired by the City’s cycling data. Artist: Hanley Weng & Xavier Ho.

Fisher says participants will also encounter works by well known Sydney-based artists Richard Goodwin, Josh Harle, Maria White, Jamil Yamani and James Gulliver Hancock.

There will be plenty of opportunities to play, get a free bicycle tune-up, join the guerrilla knitters, make some custom reflective gear (yes, replace that ugly hi-vis vest) and grab food and drink provided by Cargo Bike businesses and pop up stalls.

This event is supported by the City of Sydney through a Community Matching Grant and some invaluable sponsors: Bike Sydney, Stallion Bikes, Colour Copy Centre Reid Cycles and Arts Hotel.

For more information, visit the UNSW Art & Design event website or the Facebook page.

What: Bespoke City art festival

When: Friday 2 October, 4 pm - 9pm

Where: UNSW Art & Design and Napier street outdoor space, corner of Oxford Street and Greens Road, Paddington