The City of Forking Paths



Experienced on a mobile device, The City of Forking Paths leads people on a fictional journey through physical surrounds at dusk. Starting at Customs House in Circular Quay, the work weaves a trail through The Rocks.

Against the backdrop of real streets, the artists invent fictional scenarios and incidents for users to discover along the way. Guided by the voice of Janet Cardiff, familiar streets, made mystical at dusk, become the backdrop for an unfolding narrative of memory, displacement and desire.

In this piece Cardiff and Miller use the idea of playful wandering to blend time and place, using historical and fantastical situations to question our knowing of time and the real world. The title is an homage to Jorges Luis Borges’ story, The Garden of Forking Paths, a tale that uses the genre of a spy story to uncover questions of time and loss.


About the Artists

Canadian artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller are internationally renowned for their distinctive and innovative body of works comprising of multimedia audio installations and site-specific walks.

In 2001, Cardiff and Miller represented Canada at the 49th Venice Biennale were they were awarded the Biennale di Venezia Special Award and the Benesse Prize.

Their work have been the subject of several significant solo exhibitions, including Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan (2018); Lost in the Memory Palace: Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2013); Ship ’O Fools, HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin (2011); and The Murder of Crows, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2009), Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton (2010) and Park Avenue Armory, New York (2012).


City of Sydney Legacy Artwork

The City of Sydney has committed to commission one major artwork from each of the 2014, 2016 and 2018 Biennale of Sydney exhibitions.

The City of Forking Paths was commissioned by the 19th Biennale of Sydney: You Imagine What You Desire, curated by Juliana Engberg.

This is the first City of Sydney legacy artwork that will remain in Sydney as a permanent legacy.

The 2019 summer series is managed by Heather Tralaggan on behalf of the City of Sydney.