The Whole From The Whole
Ellen Woolley

The arts and entertainment have been hit very hard by Covid. Also the arts and entertainment are the social balm for coping. We need to conceive of a way to allow these faculties to live and grow as an healthy part of our times. This idea aims to facilitate this cultural lung to our humanity.

The largest surface allowing the most social distancing is at the perimeter. Let’s reimagine our city as a ribbon of doughnuts. On all scales. This mapping, and reconceiving of how we move, pause and spectate, could be traced at various scales throughout Sydney’s and Greater Sydney’s infrastructure, open space, venues, and rooms. These lines, revealing opportunities that lie dormant right now, could mark reinvigorating engagement with events we culturally require. Panopticonism inflected to participation – to counter a pandemic.

We, the population, can occupy these perimeter ribbons, around existing or potential indoor or outdoor ‘rooms’ or doughnut holes. These holes become the foci for art, the arts, sport and so on. Each existing or potential performance space is the hole, or the middle, around which we can spectate with a maximum safe distance. Maybe we bring cushions and deckchairs to our peepholes. Maybe necessary furniture is ticketed and built into a ribbon’s framework marking out safe spaces to spectate.

Existing and pop-up spaces such as galleries, stadiums, performance spaces, exhibition spaces, laneways, can be mapped for ‘optimum perimeters’ for viewing through “Covid peephole” apertures. The architectural interventions define new paths and temporary coverways. Series of ‘Curtain peepholes’ with folds engage while defining social distance. Or they could be a ribbon of ‘islands’ articulating careful distance. They’re external scaffolds; temporary ramp ribbons; taped and chalked spaces. They’re people in their vehicles for large events. On water, they’re floating boats moored at set distances. They’re now. An extraordinary time. They’ll tell stories.

Subscribe for updates on the Public Space Ideas Competition