Artists reinvent the urban environment in the exhibition Cities Foretold


Recycled materials and pedal power are part of a fun and futuristic new vehicle, which is being launched at the Emerge festival in Willoughby and aims to inspire creative discussions about our urban environment.

Emerge Vehicle (for the future urban nomad) – created by multidisciplinary artist Zachariah Fenn – will be unveiled tonight during the official opening of the Cities Foretold exhibition at Art Space on The Concourse.

Derived from PVC conduit, recycled metal, zip ties, metal underlayment for the awning and a bicycle frame, the Emerge vehicle combines art and advocacy by challenging our current approach to metropolitan travel and energy consumption.

In creating the vehicle, Fenn made it his mission to build a durable prototype suitable for urban travel in a future without fossil fuel transportation.

Fenn’s work will be the subject of a series of demonstrations, including at the opening of the Cities Foretold exhibition, at the Chatswood StreetFair on September 3 (1:30 p.m.) and September 24 (1:30 p.m.) at the outdoor space The Contest.

The public will be invited to follow the Emerge vehicle as it traverses the concourse, including multiple levels and areas of the compound via elevators and walkways.

Fenn said the concept is to educate and engage people on alternative modes of transportation that could emerge in a net-zero emissions future.

“This vehicle is a prototype of what vehicles could look like in the future,” Fenn said.

“There is a big push towards solar power and electric vehicles as opposed to gasoline vehicles.

“I’m looking at a futuristic city where gas-powered vehicles are no longer viable and where we’ve finally embraced more sustainable methods of transportation around the city.

“I also want to inspire people and have a little fun with my artwork…I think it connects well with kids and those who are young at heart.”

Willoughby Mayor Tanya Taylor said the Cities Foretold exhibition aims to rethink urban environments in a sustainable way.

“The exhibit reminds us that cities aren’t just a series of tall buildings – they’re also places where community and culture thrive, and where diversity drives innovation,” said Mayor Taylor.

“The artists in this exhibition challenge our preconceptions about our city, but also reflect on the beauty that can be found there.”

Cities Foretold features a diversity of artwork examining how cities will look and function in the future, including sculpture, printmaking, drawing and video art.

The exhibition also includes a community art project – the Emerge Willoughby Map Project.

Artist Janet Parker-Smith has created a large copperplate etched version of the Emerge illustrative map. Parker-Smith will hold drop-in workshops over the weekend to teach visitors how to use the engraving technique to imprint the various features and landmarks of Willoughby, which will be gradually added to the map throughout the exhibition .

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