‘Defibrillator on your eyeballs’: Artwork is a multi-hued wake-up call

“My co-composer Alyx said the sound should last for seven years because we have seven years to make a change before the change is irreversible.”

Brincat’s practice has long been connected to fabric. She has spent years collecting old parachutes, a light, durable material she dyes and re-sews for moving sculpture works.

She and Denison spent six months “hunched over” at Brincat’s Carriageworks studio experimenting with colour and planning size and shape before cutting, dyeing and sewing the final work. Made from silk divided into two 190 square-metre sections, it features spiral patterns inspired by the tiles of the Opera House.

“No one’s ever made anything like this I think,” she says. “There’s no pattern. It’s so big it took over almost the whole studio space. But silk is light. It’s like magic because it’s so tough, tougher than people imagine and that’s why they used to make sails and parachutes out of it.

“We were out in the pouring rain this week on the Opera House steps practising the work and the material was going up and down. It was soaking wet and yet it still it went up, up, up.”

Over years of experimentation, Brincat’s fascination with vibrant hues has also generated new colours for the work, including an original version of pink.

“The Opera House’s interior was originally supposed to have a lot of colour,” she says. “It’s nice to know that I’m bringing some colour to it.”


Audience members are invited to join the performance installation by holding ribbons attached to Tutti Presto fff’s edges as it travels across the steps. A group of handlers, including Brincat, will grasp the fabric’s edges, gusting it up to catch the wind and swell skyward against the pale sails of the Opera House.

“The fabric is almost like a traditional music sheet the drummers will be playing and responding to,” she says. “The fabric is made to be the main instrument, or performer, and the drummers are playing with and reading the music of it.”

She hopes Vivid’s ability to draw a broad range of visitors and audience members means more people look further into how the planet’s climate is changing.

“I always say art is my first language and English is my second,” she says. “Maybe people will see the work and walk away. Maybe they won’t think about it again. I just want them to experience something that is alive in the city, something that gathers people together again after so long being apart.”

Tutti Presto fff is showing June 3, 4 on the Sydney Opera House forecourt steps.

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