Lily Hibberd, Sydney Observatory Transit Room, photograph of a photograph taken in 2019 of the Transit Room from Henry Chamberlain Russell’s Astronomical results (1899-80-81), 25 x 19 cm. Courtesy the artist.

Lily Hibberd: Boundless – out of time

Artists in ResidenceEvent
During May and June 2020 Sydney Observatory

For NIRIN, the 22nd Biennale of Sydney 2020, artist Lily Hibberd will be undertaking a one-month residency at Sydney Observatory, titled Boundless – out of time. Lily’s creative research is focused on the pivotal role of time at Sydney Observatory, and how the Observatory’s establishment in 1858 was key to the transmission of European timekeeping as a practical tool in the colonisation of Australia. The Observatory is, for example, the original site of the meridian of Sydney, established in order to determine the hour, enabled an empire of regulated time to be distributed across the early colony.

Lily is interested in the gap between Eurocentric and colonial premises, as well as advances in technological determination, and the reality that time itself is impossible to pin down – that time is always changing. She is also concerned that time as we know it on the planet is being affected, for instance, with the Earth’s slowing rotation due to the shifting dispersion of water around the globe. Many challenges lie ahead for timekeeping – outdated and empirical systems need to be reimagined. To be unbounded, Lily suggests, we may need to be out of time.

Lily’s residency will unfold in an open studio and laboratory situated at Sydney Observatory. Boundless – out of time also activates the Observatory through three collaborative performances: a participatory walk to remap Sydney meridian with ice sculptor Kenji Ogawa, a female computers reenactment with researcher Toner Stevenson and Powerhouse Museum Curator, Andrew Jacob, and a live sound art event on time and displacement with artist Denis Beaubois and concert pianist Bernadette Harvey.

Presented by Powerhouse Museum as part of NIRIN, the 22nd Biennale of Sydney 2020.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.


Transit Room Open Studio – Meridian Sessions

11 May – 8 June

12–1pm Tuesdays and Sundays (12 May, 17, May, 24 May, 26 May & 31 May, 2 June, 7 June)

Time is the beating heart of Sydney Observatory. Colonial era devices, such as the Time Ball and the meridian pendulum clock, through to the atomic clock, have co-evolved with the perception that time can be controlled through precision and technology. With the rapidly changing conditions of our planet, many challenges lie ahead for timekeeping, posing questions that Lily Hibberd will explore in evolving experiments that attempt to reimagine and sense new ways to understand and unbound time from its conventional, constraining Western measure.

Engage with artist Lily Hibberd’s evolving creative research at Sydney Observatory, and measure and meditate on time on the meridian hour Tuesdays and Sundays throughout her residency.

Free, no bookings required.