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2001/84/240 Model, Ferris Wheel, metal/wood/twine, 'Tin Symphony', Opening Ceremony for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, designed by Dan Potra, made by model makers at the Ceremonies Workshop, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1999. Click to enlarge.

Model of a Ferris Wheel used in Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony

Made
This design model represents the 'Ferris Wheel' that appeared in 'Tin Symphony', a theatrical segment in the Opening Ceremony for the Sydney Olympic Games. Designed by Dan Potra, this was a large circular structure that featured a series of horizontal bars for gymnastic routines. Around one dozen gymnasts performed on the Ferris Wheel - their movement represented the mechanics of an agricultural machine and reiterated the theme of 'human power'. Both the model and the full-scale structure were made at the Ceremonies Workshop at Eveleigh.

Potra's concepts drew upon the imaginative artwork of Heath Robinson (1872-1944), an English illustrator who devised many whimsical and impractical inventions. (Copies of Robinson's work also feature in the Sydney 2000 Games Collection.) This sense of whimsy pervades Potra's prop designs as well as the greater, Tin Symphony theme. Along with this model, the full-scale prop was manufactured 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.

The complex and inventive 'Tin Symphony' segment, directed by Nigel Jamieson, involved 850 performers. It examined the impact of Europeans' arrival on the land after 60,000 years of Aboriginal habitation. 'Tin Symphony' began with the arrival on the spectacular Endeavour cycle carrying a gently parodied Captain Cook and his crew (accompanied by a caged rabbit). It consisted of three linked tricycles, propelled by conventional bicycle pedals, with a total length of 11 metres and a height of 3 metres. The explorers carried telescopes and sketchbooks, looking in wonder at the unfamiliar flora and fauna.

As 'Tin Symphony' unfolded, the colonists brought new technologies and materials, symbolised by corrugated iron, metal windmills and steel farming machinery. Even Ned Kelly encased himself in metal, continuing the theme of mechanisation. The segment cleverly linked icons of colonial and rural Australia, such as Captain Cook, resourceful pioneers, Ned Kelly, Irish girls, a sheep-making machine, corrugated iron windmills, derricks, water tanks and farm machinery, with modern images of suburbia, lawn mowers and the beach. The segment had an implicit theme of the settlers' humour and resourcefulness in the face of adversity. It ended with the descendants of the settlers, the modern Australians, who has tamed and transformed the land, symbolised by the lawnmower ballet, a kind of serenade to suburbia, its backyards and barbecues.

Summary

Object No.

2001/84/240

Object Statement

Model, Ferris Wheel, metal/wood/twine, 'Tin Symphony', Opening Ceremony for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, designed by Dan Potra, made by model makers at the Ceremonies Workshop, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1999

Physical Description

Model, Ferris Wheel, metal/wood/twine, 'Tin Symphony', Opening Ceremony for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, designed by Dan Potra, made by model makers at the Ceremonies Workshop, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1999

Consists of a base frame with wooden side panels joined by horizontal metal bars. The base frame has four wooden wheels attached to it, two at the front and two at the back. The wheels turn on axles made from metal tubing. Additional metal bars extending up from the base frame support the Ferris wheel and the axle on which the wheel turns. The wheel itself has been constructed from wooden struts that are joined together by metal bars and twine. The wooden parts of the Ferris wheel have been painted grey.

Dimensions

Height

255 mm

Width

135 mm

Production

Notes

Dan Potra designed the Ferris Wheel in late 1999 to complement the industrial theme of Tin Symphony. His concept drew upon the imaginative artwork of Heath Robinson (1872-1944), an English illustrator who devised many whimsical and impractical inventions.

In late 1999, a small team of model makers produced this miniature design model of the Ferris Wheel. Both the model and the full-scale prop were manufactured at the expansive Ceremonies Workshop at Eveleigh.

History

Notes

Made for and owned by the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games in 1999 and donated to the Powerhouse Museum after the Games.
This design model was used as a miniature prototype for the Ferris, a mechanical prop that featured in the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.

Source

Credit Line

Part of the Sydney 2000 Games Collection. Gift of the New South Wales Government, 2001

Acquisition Date

5 October 2001

Cite this Object

Harvard

Model of a Ferris Wheel used in Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 26 October 2020, <https://ma.as/503119>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/503119 |title=Model of a Ferris Wheel used in Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=26 October 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}