Let there be light

Artist Allan Giddy’s pioneering technology is transforming Sydney’s iconic Moreton Bay fig trees into works of art.

Earth V Sky3 300x270

Earth V Sky, image courtesy of City of Sydney

Artist Allan Giddy’s pioneering technology is transforming Sydney’s iconic Moreton Bay fig trees into works of art.

The Director of the Environmental Research Initiative for Art at COFA, Giddy is the creative and technical mind behind Earth V Sky.

Using a world-first colour-sensitive light control system, a camera takes a snapshot of the sky at dusk and projects the inverse colour of the sunset onto the trees. The colours gradually change as the night progresses. 

He worked with the assistance of UNSW engineers to construct a wind turbine, which powers the LED lights as well as feeding renewable energy back into the grid.

“We developed this technology from the ground up, creating sensors to analyse the colour of the sky, detect the opposite colour on the colour wheel and reflect it back onto the leaves and branches,” Giddy says. 

“The colours change subtly and slowly as our world gradually turns and the sun slowly sets."

“Art is moving from being the monumental to being a relationship with the public,'' Giddy told the Sydney Morning Herald, and indeed, many pedestrians walking along the Glebe Foreshore have stopped to observe the colour changes of the fig trees.

Renowned for his use of sustainable energy in public art and time-based sculpture, Giddy’s works have been shown at the Tate Modern gallery in London, as well as other major venues in North America, Europe and Asia.

He was inspired to create Earth V Sky after being struck by the beauty of the twin fig trees at the end of Glebe Point Road. “I thought how great it would be to enhance them for the community."

Earth V Sky is one of several public art projects developed in partnership with the City of Sydney. It will be officially opened on April 24, by Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

 Media contact: Cassie Chorn | 02 9385 5405