Collaborations with Nature

Drunken Piles

A forest of hardwood timber piles lose balance in the tidal waters of East Darling Harbour. Pier-less, they are freed from their usual function of support. Rather than resist the forces of nature these piles are encouraged to sway from side to side by virtue of a shackle connection to sunken moorings. Each pole is encircled by a lifebuoy - ironically suggestive of keeping them afloat. The lifebuoys are island habitats for local marine organisms, providing homes for barnacles, sea squirts, oysters, green seaweed, algae and sea lettuce. Moving up and down the piles with the tide they become biodiverse tidal gauges.


Arranged in a 250 metre long, three-row wide grid at the northern end of East Darling Harbour, Drunken Piles will perform as a choreographed group wobbling in response to the movement of wave wash and wind. At low tide two metres of pole will be visible above water, whilst at high tide just their painted white tops will emerge from the surface as if about to sink. Together their gentle wayward movements reinforce our connection to the ever-changing waters of Sydney Harbour.