Now more commonly referred to as the ‘dragon’, the impressive sculpture above the light stairs at World Square has a name and purpose not many are aware of.

The artist, Suzann Victor’s, working title for the artwork is “Skin to Skin”, completed in March 2005, refers to the physical, aesthetic and conceptual synergy between the pair of kinetic sculptures, the ‘body’ above the light stairs and the ‘tail’ at George Street entrance.

Designed to respond to the inherent windy conditions of the site, each sculpture resembles a “cyber-skin” composed of hundreds of metal plates inspired by the shared iconic features of an oriental dragon and the Rainbow Serpent from Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime stories. The plates originally performed a sensual “shimmer” in suitable wind speed and “fluttered” more openly in gusty wind conditions. However, most of the plates were dampened during installation due to the noise.

The unique asymmetry and oblique shape of the artwork considers the five arterial entry/exit access points at World Square and offers a different profile from each of them. The sculptural gesture begins as a crescent frame on the left of the stairs on Ground and evolves seamlessly into a spiral that lands on the right of the stairs on Level 1. At its highest point, it is 10m high.

The intricate robotic-skeletal underside was fully exposed till Christmas 2017 when LED light curtains were installed to create a seamless lighting display between the tail, to the body and the stairs. Drawing inspiration for The Bay Lights on the Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco, the generative light display produces a moving ribbon of light. The addition of the LED light curtains is a reinterpretation of the artist’s intent for the sculpture to be a dynamic, colour-shifting, kinetic artwork, allowing visitors to “re-discover” the World Square ‘dragon’ time and time again..

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