Silhouettes: 240-248 Victoria Street
As the urban hum of a Melbourne day fades, the glow of dusk softens the city. Intermittently lights in buildings are visible, streetlights and signage turn on, traffic lights bold in colour are reflected in puddles of rain and shop fronts – the city’s night-time expression begins.
At 240-248 Victoria Street we look up, and from a 5th floor window the silhouette of a woman appears opening drapes. On another floor a man is playing saxophone and through another we see a couple eating a meal together. Across ten ‘windows’ of the western façade of the Bayley Ward building, this newly commissioned public art installation by Melbourne design studio RAMUS, offers vignettes of a community in their everyday activities.
Filmed and treated to be integrated into the architecture and light scape of the surrounding city, Silhouettes is ten low resolution LED screens housed in window boxes, activating a previously unused façade.
Commissioned by the Australian Nurses and Midwifes Association (ANMF) 240-248 Victoria Street is an affordable, high-quality accommodation offering for ANMF members attending conferences and seminars in Melbourne. Engaged during the year of Health and Care Workers 2021, ANMFs brief to RAMUS was for an artwork that supported the purpose of the building. Inspired by the care and dedication of those who work in service to others, RAMUS wanted to communicate the diversity and everyday commitment of these people, who, regardless of what they see and do in the service of their work, continue with their responsibilities and personal contributions to community.
RAMUS crafted the footage by adding digital window frames, drapes and lights to make the images feel dimensional and enable the silhouetted figures to appear inside the building. Programming via a customised control system enables the content to run randomly resulting in no two nights displaying the same footage across the ten windows.
Displaying every evening from dusk to midnight, Silhouettes is a delightfully quiet encounter, settling itself unobtrusively into the night scape of Victoria Street and offering viewers moments into all of our lives.
For more information on RAMUS works https://www.ramus.com.au/