A giant counterbalanced wind vane turns into the wind above an ‘orienteering compass’ embedded in the ground at Scout Place, Circular Quay. The aerial vane momentarily aligns with points of the ground compass in a form of ‘urban orienteering’. Chance winds point to poetic riddles spiralling around a 16-point compass. Their ‘directions’ send us in action or in reverie to some of the wonderful, intriguing but perhaps forgotten places that surround us.
Windlines seeks to remind us of the adventure of our city and its surrounds often numbed by daily routine. The ground compass combines the near and the far, the urban and the natural, the water and the land, the past and the present. ‘Snapper Watches Spectacle As Camping Cockatoos Lasso A Lonely Goat, 14km WNW’ for example, refers to the inner harbour islands of Snapper, Spectacle, Cockatoo and Goat and is accompanied by a distance and direction from Scout Place. The adventurous will decode the meaning through action whilst others will ‘go there’ in their imaginations.
Oblique references to Scout aims and ideals are included in many of the riddles. Words and phrases like be resolute, does his best, lead the way and be prepared embed the spirit of the Scouts into the artwork.
The seemingly arbitrary movement of the wind vane above is like the spinning of the dial on a game board. The turning of the vane is a rally call to imagination and adventure, highlighting a spirit of fun, chance and the Scouts’ preparedness to embrace or change course. Situated next to the Circular Quay’s promise of maritime journeys, Windlines asks us to follow the spirit of the winds as we explore memories and imagine future discoveries.