There's this feeling sometimes in Sydney that's not unlike the vast nothing inside atoms. Despite the apparent solidity of its sandstone buildings, vertical offices, parks and sunny lanes, the city hides a labyrinth of empty spaces waiting to be filled. Throughout the year festivals, small bars, casual cafes and delivery vans cram in to try to top up those voids with dance, food or clever art. Graffiti aside, though, few things focus as much on filling up Sydney's quiet corners as the public art festival, Art & About.
This year's season opens with an invitation to explore all the art's debut evening on the streets at Friday Night Live, with acts like Paul Mac and Fourplay accompanying your ramble, and museums staying up late with you. Laneway Art returns with a distinct lounge vibe, hosting bike-wheeled cinema-screens, outdoor furniture and some tricks with mirrors. City street banners will be co-opted for What If?, while Michael Landy's meditation on public civility will also lay itself across the CBD in Acts of Kindness.
The giant images of annual outdoor photography exhibition Sydney Life are joined in Hyde Park this year by its junior counterpart Little Sydney Lives. Circus Maximus' audience-hugging horns, House's foray into the dark art of the Historic Houses Trust and an expedition to the Paris of 1911 help round out the month-long season, as part of the Festival's extensive list of umbrella events. Large or small, there's plenty in this year's Art and About there to electrify an empty day.
Photograph of Australia Square by Brent M V Wintstone.