The Urban Barcode

Related to City Art
Installed from 20 October 2009 to 28 January 2010
Two people walking down a laneway with suspended fluorescent tubes overhead
Two men walking down an alleyway with suspended fluorescent tubes overhead
A narrow alleyway with a sign on it. A narrow alleyway with a no stopping sign on it. Suspended fluorescent tube in the air

Two barcodes, one suspended in fluorescent tubes and a second painted on the ground invite dialogue about the city.

Artist: Damian Hadley, Hannah Tribe, Maix Mayer
Curator: Steffen Lehmann
This artwork was temporary and is no longer at this location.

Artwork description

Part way along Abercrombie Lane the barcodes of 2 texts about the city were installed. These ubiquitous, machine readable, representations of data were enlarged to a civic scale with the idea that the public could quite literally occupy a kind of space between the 2 texts.

Three metres in the air, an enlarged diagram of the barcode of Jan Gehlʼs book Life Between Buildings was suspended in white fluorescent tubes, animated by the interaction of the public passing through the lane. This influential Danish architect advocated improving the quality of urban life by reorienting city design towards human scale, for people walking and riding bikes.

Beneath this suspended code on the ground lay another bar code painted in black. This code was that of Two or Three things I know about her, a 1967 French Film by Jean-Luc Goddard that was both socially and stylistically radical.

The 2 codes sought to frame a space of dialogue on the city and create the opportunity for people to engage with it.

“The laneway is converted from a place of movement and passage to a place of stasis and conversation about the city. It is recontextualised and opened up to new uses and new interpretations.”

–  Artist statement, 2009

Project team

  • Maix Mayer – Installation Artist
  • Hannah Tribe – Architect, Tribe Studio
  • Damian Hadley – Structural Engineer, SDA

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