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Come Together At Nomanslanding

Picture yourself in this scene: you’re fighting in a trench, in a foreign land; the smell of soil and gunpowder overwhelms. It’s loud; gunshots ring and explosions roar. It’s cold; the rain hits as the bullets fly, your clothes are soaked and your feet are numb. You peer up over the sandbags, helmet on and rifle in hand, ready to shoot again across the divide – the ‘no man’s land’. Off in the distance, peering up over enemy sandbags, you see another person staring back. Time stands still and all goes silent for just a moment, as you recognise the familiar blend of emotion and fear on his face.

He looks just like you.

The no man’s land as a physical, emotional and historical plane forms the basis of a unique commemorative and interactive artwork, Nomanslanding, proudly presented by the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority at Darling Harbour as part of the NSW Centenary of ANZAC program.

A world first, Nomanslanding will float on Cockle Bay and offer a poetic interpretation of a soldier’s experience in wartime, and a sensory experience of transformation. Two half-domes float serenely in the water, facing each other. You will be prepared for departure, then invited to traverse along one of two identical floating walkways, each leading towards a half-dome. From within the half-dome you will see, across the water, those on the other side; the enemy across no man’s land.

They look just like you.

The half-domes will move closer together, the gap between them diminishing ever more over the water. The domes meet, silence descends, and a new shared territory is created. Within the hushed dark dome the audience experiences a multimedia performance; mourning musicians and letters from soldiers, experienced as a ‘whispering gallery’ within the acoustic architecture. A bridge has been formed between the two sides; you are now free to cross what once was no man’s land.

Nomanslanding was conceived by five international artists from Australia, Scotland and the Netherlands; Robyn Backen, Andre Dekker and Observatorium, Graham Eatough, Dr Nigel Helyer, and Jennifer Turpin. It was developed together with curators Glasgow Life / Merchant City Festival in Scotland, Urbane Künste Ruhr / Ruhrtriennale Festival of the Arts from Germany, and SHFA in Australia, and will be exhibited at River Clyde in Glasgow and the former train harbour of Duisburg Ruhrort after its world premiere at Darling Harbour.

As well as experiencing Nomanslanding, we invite you to participate in our public Poppy Remembrance Wall, and experience The Descendants Project, a large scale hoarding art exhibition of portraits of WWI descendants from Australia and Turkey, by Australian-Turkish artist Mertim Gokalp. Kids can take part in Make Your Own Poppy craft workshops at Harbourside Shopping Centre and with Monkey Baa Theatre Company at Lend Lease Darling Quarter Theatre, and large scale interpretive panels capturing a journey through WWI through diary quotes and photographs, Peace Has Trembled Here, will also be displayed around Darling Harbour.

On April 12th, we proudly present Sydney Interrupted in partnership with the Australian National Maritime Museum, a free talk on the impact of WWI on our city, and on April 15, you are invited to meet the artists behind Nomanslanding at a free talk, The Making Of Nomanslanding at Lend Lease Darling Quarter Theatre.

A commemorative tour that investigates the impact and significance of war, Impact, Change and Commemoration – an ANZAC Story, will be held on 11 and 12 April, and 18 and 19 April. For the entire month, you can experience Defence Housing Australia‘s interactive Life-sized Pin Portrait, creating an amazing pin impression portrait of your entire family, while immersing yourselves in the stories of Defence families in Australia today, and learning about the significant role a safe and stable home plays in all our lives.

At Darling Harbour, we’re proud to bring history to life, and to commemorate and reflect upon the Centenary of ANZAC. Together we travel across the water to face ourselves and our past.

Thu 2 Apr – Sun 3 May
11am – 7pm (last entry 6:30pm)
Cockle Bay
Full program and getting here

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