Michaelie Crawford

Michaelie Crawford and Jennifer Turpin are collaborative makers of kinetic installations in the public sphere. Many of their works grace inner Sydney, including ‘Tied to Tide’ on the Pyrmont foreshore, ‘Windlines’ at Circular Quay and, most recently, ‘Halo’ in a new residential and commercial development in Chippendale. In this interview Michaelie talks about the two artists’ education and development, and the many environmental, social and regulatory issues surrounding large-scale public art. In the excerpt below she discusses the highly collaborative nature of their work.

We have a joint vision of what the outcome is, and we have a joint vision of what our concerns are, and we’ll fight it out if we need to, or we let things slide if we kind of intuitively know that they’re actually not that great anyway, in terms of ideas.  And we feel that the collaborative process actually, rather than being a compromise, is much more about helping us distil what we want to achieve. The critique involved in two people throwing that around, we feel confident that we’ve got a better outcome from that. [We] don’t really work with other artists but we certainly work with other people all the time.  In our own team we have assistants in the studio and then all of our projects, because they’re kinetic, and because they’re in the public domain, they require engineers of a number of sorts.  So we work with structural engineers, mechanical engineers, wind engineers, fluvial geomorphologists, we’ve worked with a lot of different people.  So they’re big teams and then of course you’ve got to work with a client, and the people who we probably mainly work with in terms of design are architects and landscape architects.

Deborah Beck