an urban wildlife safari
Sydney, 9 October, 2010
The Urban Wildlife Safari is a participatory public project that will take place as part of the MCA exhibition: In the Balance: Art for a Changing World.
It will take the form of a participatory walking tour, with participants exploring local urban spaces within the CBD and the flora and fauna that inhabit them. The event will bring scientists, botanists and urbanists together with artists who take an ecological approach to their practice. It will offer a unique glimpse into how the urban landscape acts as a backdrop to human/nature interaction and how this is changing. This collaboration will make this both an educational and creative experience.
While it is necessary to address how the future city is to be designed, both sustainably and environmentally, what is often overlooked is that we humans are already cohabitating our urban spaces with nature. This project will re-situate the city as one element of a living organism, giving refuge and sanctuary to many forms of wildlife. It is one of a new urban ecology, one that both relates and responds to nature. With the urban landscape as a backdrop, humans and wildlife collide and relate to one another in surprising ways. This walk will open our eyes to the wild nature that we share our cities with.
Experts and artists will be selected that specifically relate to the following themes.
The urban wastelands of forgotten and residual spaces “Terrain vague” – such as disused railway lines, carpark corners and cemeteries - offer refuge for a variety of uninterrupted ecosystems to flourish. We will look at the large unused spaces around the CBD, and investigate the wildlife that currently exists there.
The architecture of the city centre offers new habitats for species. The out of reach awnings of skyscrapers and building cornices act as informal bird nests and hunting lookouts for predators. In the CBD we will go on a birdwatching tour, seeing how humans and birds interact in the most unlikely of places.
Landscaping and Gardens
The Gardens we plant and our landscaping tastes attract new forms of wildlife, and while some are encouraged others are controlled, tamed or locked out. In the Royal Botanical Gardens we will see how our gardening habits and way of life has a direct affect on native and non native species, from the present and from the past.
The walk participants will act as urban explorers, collecting and analyzing the data they discover. The safari theme will further be emphasized by maps, collecting baskets, and a bush tucker tea break.
Map: A hand drawn map will guide walkers.