A giant counterbalanced wind vane turns into the wind above an ‘orienteering compass’ embedded in the ground at Scout Place, Circular Quay. Blown by the wind, the aerial vane momentarily aligns with points of the ground compass to engage the public 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.
The adventure of our city and its surrounds is often numbed by daily routine. ‘Windlines’ seeks to inspire its re-enchantment. The ground compass combines the near and the far, the urban and the natural, the above and below-ground, the water and the land, the present and the past. ‘Snapper Watches Spectacle As Camping Cockatoos Lasso A Lonely Goat’ for example, refers to the close-by inner harbour islands of Snapper, Spectacle, Cockatoo and Goat whilst ‘Climb Balls Pyramid On Far Sydney Island to Seek Out Summit of Seas Highest Stack’ refers to Balls Pyramid and Lord Howe Island which, though 788kms away, are part of the Federal Seat of Sydney. All the ‘directions’ are accompanied by a distance and a set of co-ordinates from Scout Place. The adventurous will decode their 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, risk, help, save, lead the way and be prepared' embed the spirit of the Scouts in the essence of the artwork.
The seemingly arbitrary movement of the wind vane above is like the spinning of the dial on a game board. Its apparently erratic behaviour highlights a spirit of fun and chance and the Scouts’ preparedness to embrace or change course. The turning of the vane is a rally call to imagination and adventure. 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.