Mould of fish head, medium density fibreboard, 'school of fish' costume, Deep Sea Dreaming, Opening Ceremony for the Olympic Games, Sydney, 2000, designed by Dan Potra, used at the Creatures of Desire studio, Sydney, 2000
Manufactured in medium density fibreboard (MDF), this mould was used to cast the high impact, styrene heads that were part of the 'School of Fish' costumes in 'Deep Sea Dreaming' - a theatrical segment in the Opening Ceremony for the Sydney Olympic Games. Produced in two halves (a left side and a right side), the heads were vacuum formed over the MDF moulds, trimmed, pop riveted together and then painted to match the remaining costume. Prop makers, Fleur Burrows, Toni Ascroft, Will Sumpter and Debra Gardner made the heads at the 'Creatures of Desire' studio in Sydney. This process was separate from most other prop work which took place at the Ceremonies Workshop at Eveleigh.
Described by the NSW premier Bob Carr as 'the greatest spectacle Australia has produced', the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games took place at Stadium Australia, Homebush Bay on Friday 15 September 2000. Though the ceremony featured anthems, speeches, oaths, flags, pop singers and a marching band, its daring conceptual sequences ('Deep Sea Dreaming', 'Awakening', 'Nature', 'Tin Symphony', 'Arrivals' and 'Eternity') will be remembered as the major imaginative works. Each segment commenced without interruption, following on from the last to form an overall narrative. The purpose was to project a national image to a worldwide audience, to form the world's vision of Australian culture. This image embraced tolerance, social progress, multiculturalism and reconciliation, as well as nature, history and creativity. Designed to stimulate emotional responses from the audience, these segments delivered a refreshing mixture of youth, naivety and larrikinism.
After the horses from the 'Welcome' segment left the arena, the first narrative sequence, 'Deep Sea Dreaming', began. The 'hero girl', played by the 13-year-old Nikki Webster, skipped onto the arena in a pink sundress. She applied sun cream to her nose, stretched, lay on her beach towel and dreamt of the ocean. Her dreams afforded the director of this segment, Meryl Tankard, the opportunity to transform the stadium into a deep ocean. Eleven cables were used, strung 45 m above the arena across the 111 m space between the grandstands on either side. The hero girl soared high above the arena in a special lift harness, swimming and somersaulting through the ocean, among giant sea creatures. Translucent jellyfish drifted past her, and then various banner fish, sea-dragons, an eel, a mantaray, a ground-based worm, a nudibranch, a Spanish dancer, squid, lion fish, even a fearsome barracuda. Of the 800 people involved in this segment, 150 were schoolchildren taking the part of a giant school of fish. This object was worn by one of these children. The hero girl was sucked slowly downwards among a swirling mass of fish until white-ochre spirits took charge of her and carried her to the stage where the tribal dancer Djakapurra Munyarryun, the Songman, guided her through the following segments of the ceremony.
This medium density fibreboard (MDF) mould was designed to cast high impact, styrene heads that were part of the 'School of Fish' costumes. The mould represents the left and right sides of a stylised fish head - an over-sized, pointed head with large eyes and broad, smiling lips.
This medium density fibreboard (MDF) mould was made in two parts (a left side and a right side) to cast the high impact, styrene heads that were part of the 'School of Fish' costumes. The heads were vacuum formed over the MDF moulds, trimmed, pop riveted together and then painted to match the remaining costume.
Prop makers, Fleur Burrows, Toni Ascroft, Will Sumpter and Debra Gardner, used this mould to cast the high impact, styrene heads that were part of the 'School of Fish' costumes. This work was conducted at the 'Creatures of Desire' studio in Sydney.
Made for and owned by the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, and donated to the Powerhouse Museum after the Games.