About the Project

Supported by the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and part of The Rocks Windmill program, Tilting at Windmills is a creative research residency exploring the relations between meteorology, language and history.

Tilting at Windmills is an unorthodox investigation of weather patterns in The Rocks, generating over several weeks a semi-fictional account of how the elements have historically shaped human behaviour and sustenance in this area. Taking an imaginative and critical position, the artists borrow the phrase ‘tilting at windmills’ from the novel Don Quixote (in which windmills are mistaken for adversaries) as a metaphor for rethinking dominant approaches to climate change, in what theorist Tony Fry has called ‘the impending age of unsettlement’.

Between 1 – 20 April, the artists will transform historic 28 Harrington Street (‘Reynold’s Cottage’) into the HQ for a collaborative study of weather-human relations over time, in the spirit of early colonial astronomer and Indigenous language scholar William Dawes. Here they will make regular weather observations – as Dawes did, ‘noting special qualities in the shifting wind, describing the sky, the pressured weight of the air, sensing and saying what type of heat or cold was glossing every moment’ – and collect data from contemporary and historic sources in ways that are ritualistic and meditative, involving contributions from local residents and invited guests.

Their research will feed into a set of experimental texts, presented in-progress to intimate audiences at periodic ‘readings’ (in the form of afternoon teas, screenings, roundtable discussions or picnics). At the close of the residency a final public event will be held inside the Windmill, where the artists present their findings in the form of a slide show, mini publication or exhibition.


Public Readings (28 Harrington St.): Mon 8 Apr (10am – 11.30am) /  Mon 15 Apr (6pm-8pm)

Open Studios (28 Harrington St.): Sat 6 Apr (12pm-2pm) / Sat 13 Apr (12pm-2pm)

Launch of Installation & End of Residency (Inside The Rocks Windmill) – Thurs 18 Apr (6pm-8pm)

 This residency is part of The Rocks Windmill


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