Spot Fire Symposia SERIES


Domain Theatre
Art Gallery of New South Wales
10am – 4.30pm
Saturday 16 July 2016


The second of three symposia, Spectacle, manifestation, performance was a Kaldor Public Art Projects and Art Gallery of New South Wales event, convened by Ross Gibson, Centenary Professor of Creative and Cultural Research, University of Canberra, in anticipation of the 32nd Kaldor Public Art Project, Jonathan Jones’s barrangal dyara (skin and bones).

Housing the Sydney International Exhibition of 1879–80, the ostentatious Garden Palace completed the Chief Colonial Architect of New South Wales, James Barnet’s, vision for Sydney. Gesturing out to Middle Harbour and the Heads, it was the city’s boast of its burgeoning colonial enterprise. But the Garden Palace’s magnificence was fleeting, lasting only three years. In 1882, in an ultimate spectacular display, the palace and all its contents were destroyed by an intense fire that took only a few hours to obliterate everything except the gates at the south-west entrance to the grounds. Spectacle, manifestation, performance considered the history of spectacle in Sydney and interrogated the grandiose cultural vision that promoted the Australian colonies to the world.

Uncle Charles Madden, Gadigal Elder
Jonathan Jones, Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist
Dr Linda Young, Senior Lecturer in Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies, Deakin University
Dr Peter Kohane, Senior Lecturer in Architectural Studies, Architecture and Urban Typologies, University of NSW
Steven Miller, Head of Library Services, Art Gallery of New South Wales
Wesley Enoch, Sydney Festival Director 2017-2019
Russell Smith, Ngarrindjeri actor
Dr Ilaria Vanni, Senior Lecturer, International Studies Program, University of Technology Sydney
Cara Pinchbeck, Curator, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales
Clothilde Bullen, Assistant Producer, Yirra Yaakin Theatre 

Image: Lithograph, ‘Burning of the Garden Palace, Sydney’, Gibbs Shallard and Company, Sydney, 1882. Collection: Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney.



Welcomes - Uncle Charles Madden, John Kaldor, Michael Brand, Jonathan Jones

Peter Kohane - A gateway to the city: James Barnet’s design for Sydney’s Garden Palace

Dr Linda Young - The Sydney International Exhibition

Steven Miller - Political performance: competing agendas at the 1879 Sydney International Exhibition

Panel - Dr Linda Young, Steven Miller, Jonathan Jones and Peter Kohane


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Wesley Enoch - Performing Sydney

Russell Smith - Reading from historical texts on the Garden Palace


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Illaria Vanni - Escape from the Garden Palace

Cara Pinchbeck - Remaining relevant: the changing roles of collections

Panel - Illaria Vanni, Jonathan Jones and Cara Pinchbeck

Clothilde Bullen - Crossing borders: performative work in Indigenous art