Emin's Birds Bridge Distance



Tracey Emin’s The Distance of Your Heart sees sixty bird sculptures in Sydney's CBD, inviting you to slow down and reflect on the people you love, however close by or far away…


Like a treasure hunt compromised of scattered elements of an artwork, the tiny bronze birds – each made by hand, by Emin herself – are life-size and delicately placed on Bridge and Grosvenor Streets, and on the Kent Street underpass, perching on poles and doorways to delight and surprise each unassuming passer-by.


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Juxtaposed against the tall city sky scrapers, the installation is concerned with the feeling of homesickness; created especially for the city the installation responds to Australia's distance from other parts of the world. When Emin asked herself how to convey the feeling of loneliness without words, she found her answer in the form of a bird – an animal she says she’s been drawing for 25 years, and refers to as ‘the angels of this earth’.


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‘As my artwork I would like to make a counter site in Sydney for the young, the old, the backpackers, the tourists and the businessmen and women; somewhere else they can have their image taken to send back to the loved ones that they miss, that conveys the feelings of distance and homesickness.’


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In Macquarie Place Park the words ‘The Distance Of Your Heart’ are etched on a stone bird bath, which Emin considers a place to be photographed, and a vessel to share how your feeling with somebody in a photograph, rather than of where you are and what you are doing in our social culture.


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Emin chose Macquarie Place because this is the site of the Obelisk of Distances designed by Francis Greenway from which the distance to various locations in New South Wales are measured, along the earliest roads developed in the colony. She saw this as “…the perfect site to measure the distance of my heart”.