Contour 556


The inaugural contour 556 intervention into the Canberra landscape ran from 21 October – 13 November 2016. 

Contour 556 was curated by Neil Hobbs, with assistance from the contour 556 team: Karina Harris, Jordan Evans-Tse, Bronwyn Blake and Georgia Hobbs. 

Contour 556 was a case study for Neil’s PhD research project on ‘the transformative nature of public art on the public realm.’ Artworks and performances linked in some way to Canberra’s cultural and political history. 

Contour 556 saw 41 artworks and performances by 48 local, national and international artists installed on the lake shore and around the Kingston Arts Precinct. The artworks transformed iconic designed landscapes within the central lake area such as Bowen Park, Central Basin, The National Library foyer and forecourt, the National Gallery of Australia Sculpture Garden, Megalo Print Studios and the Fitters Workshop. The artworks included light, sound and digital projections and added vibrancy to the lake edge and parkland. One of the works, Katy Mutton’s dazzle camouflage boat ‘In Plain Sight’ will remain visible on Lake Burley Griffin (and available for hire by the public) for 12 months. 

Of the 48 participating artists 33 were from the Canberra region, 13 from Brisbane, Tweed Heads, Sydney, Southern Highlands or Melbourne, and 2 international artists, from China and Germany. 


The 2016 event was roundly held to be a resounding success – by the participating artists, by the public, and by the sponsors.
The provisional dates for the 018 iteration are Friday 5th October – Sunday 28th October. 


The opening night on Friday 21 October was attended by in excess of 300 people. It was held at the Commonwealth Place East Space, which was provided to the event team for the duration of the festival by the National Capital Authority. The event was opened by David Broker, director of Canberra Contemporary Art Space, and featured performances by Hiromi Tango, Jacqueline Bradley, and Victor Evatt. 


image courtesy of Jordan Evans-Tse


Harris Hobbs Public Projects

Harris Hobbs Public Projects focuses on bringing our landscape architectural training, research and practice to the curatorial component of sculpture, digital and performance art.  

Contour 556 is a large scale public realm intervention, bringing together local, national and international artists delivering installed works, performance, walks, dance and digital presentations on the ‘canvas’ of the Canberra landscape.  

(image: Alex Seton)

Canberra’s designed landscape will be re-invigorated and will be an attraction for local, national and international visitors. The site extends from Reconciliation Place around the NGA Sculpture Garden and lake edge through Bowen Park, terminating at the Kingston Arts Precinct, a distance of a little over 2 kilometres.

(image: Louis Pratt)

Contour 556 refers to the metricequivalent of Lake Burley Griffin’s water level. 

(image: Erica Seccombe)


Haeli Van Veen
Committee meeting, 2016

image courtesy of Sean Davey

Archie Moore
Yam Daisy, 2016

image courtesy of Sean Davey

Philip Spelman
Redtrumpet redtable, 2014

image courtesy of Sean Davey

Peter Vandermark
Skyshoes, 2016

image courtesy of Sean Davey

Christoph Dahlhausen
Stabilizing light, 2016

image courtesy of J. Evans-Tse

Gary Carsley
One place in another, 2016

image courtesy of Sean Davey

Katy Mutton
In plain sight, 2016

image courtesy of the artist

David Capra's Eau de wet dogge

Using Format