nomanslanding in sydney

date 2015
location darling harbour, clyde river, duisburg ruhrort ruhr district
medium wood, sound, mixed media
dimensions floating artwork, internal dome 10 metres diameter, 6 metres high
photographer various
collection artist

video of the work

the lament

nml site

observatorium site

art talks

darling harbour brochure

project wall mockup

event engineering

about the work

Nomanslanding is a sensory experience of transformation. The floating structures move slowly back and forth across the water to create and separate territory. Bridging the waterway the new ‘joint territory’ brings people together to experience, remember and contemplate.

Created by five international artists (Robyn Backen, Andre Dekker, Graham Eatough, Nigel Helyer and Jennifer Turpin) and jointly developed by Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Glasgow Life / Merchant City Festival and Urbane Künste Ruhr / Ruhrtriennale, Nomanslanding made its debut at Darling Harbour in April 2015, and opened at the Ruhrtrienniale in Germany in September 2015. In 2017 Nomanslanding will travel to the Merchant City Festival in Glasgow.

floating walkways

A pair of identical floating walkways are sited on opposing shores of waterways in Australia, Scotland and Germany. Initially installed in Sydney’s Darling Harbour, the floating walkways will travel to the Duisburg Ruhrort Ruhr district and the Clyde River in Glasgow. The walkways extend slowly out to ‘meet’ halfway and then contract back to shore.  

the meeting of the half domes

Nomanslanding features a pair of floating, extendable walkways, reminiscent of early 20th century naval pontoon bridges. Visitors approach from opposing shores across the water, in an unfamiliar no man’s land, to arrive in a dome structure in the middle of the bay.  The dome structure is split in two and so visitors peer across a 10-m divide of water at each other – all the while with the cityscape of Sydney rising above them beyond the bay.   The two halves of the dome structure then move together, the gap between them diminishing, and visitors from opposing sides are united in a chapel-like, shared space for contemplation.

acoustic architecture

The experience is intensified by the acoustic qualities of the space. Like a ‘whispering gallery’, the sound of a voice is amplified in eerie reverberation. Within the dark dome the audience experience a multimedia installation/performance; dramatic soundscape, a vibrating cupola and poetry ricochet across the dome, leading the audience from terror to redemption.


What’s on

Real Time Arts Review

Darling Harbour

German Newspaper Article

Media Release

Easy Jet Traveller Magazine

Art Almanac listing

Daily Telegraph


International curators: Katja Aßmann, Michael Cohen and Lorenzo 

Co-commissions: Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Glasgow
Life / Merchant City Festival and Urbane Künste Ruhr / Ruhrtriennale.

Constructions and Engineering: Event Engineering

Soundscape Voice Credits

German female: Bettina Kaiser

German female: Lisa Schoetell

French female: Sophie Leprêtre

Russian female: Gulnara Shayakhmetova

Turkish female: Zeynep Berk

Scottish female: Catherine Elliot

English female: Sarah Ward

Australian female: Julie Ewington Joyce Watson, Artist

German female: Franz-Josef Kaiser, Artist

English female: Artist

Australian/New Zealand: Mike Floyd, Ian Hobbs, Artist

Singers: Ben Fink, Dale Caldwell, Freya Backen