Artists: George Bures Miller, Janet Cardiff
Curator: Juliana Engberg
Customs House, 31 Alfred Street, SYDNEY, 2000
Artist Website

Artwork Description

This video walk will become, I’m sure, a must-do encounter for the people of, and visitors to, Sydney.

– Juliana Engberg, Artistic Director, 19th Biennale of Sydney

Immerse yourself in the engrossing world of fact and fiction as artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller lead you on a twilight video walk around The Rocks.

Experienced on a smart phone or 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.

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.


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.

Experience The City of Forking Paths

To experience the artwork, users can borrow a mobile device from Customs House or they can download the artwork on their personal devices. Users can head to Customs House Foyer, between dusk and 9:30 pm, Monday to Saturday. Headphones and an iPod pre-loaded with The City of Forking Paths can be borrowed from the concierge desk in the foyer of Customs House. Please bring a credit card and photo ID (or two forms of identification, including one photo ID), copies of which will be made in exchange for an iPod and headphones.

The duration of the walk is just over 1 hour, concluding on Cumberland Street in The Rocks. Please return your iPod to Customs House within 30 minutes of completing the walk.

Alternatively, you can download the free app for The City of Forking Paths onto your own device and bring your own headphones. The app is over 1.8GB in size: download time over a standard ADSL2+ secure Wi-Fi connection may take up to an hour or more depending on the speed of your connection.

Due to the large size, we recommend that you download it at home before arriving at Customs House and delete it from your mobile device after use. The app is GPS-activated and time-locked and will only play once you are inside the foyer of Customs House after dusk.

Before you take the walk

This artwork promises to be an unusual experience and unlike any artwork you’ve seen before. Here are some tips for people ready to take the walk:

  • Users must be 18 years and over unless accompanied by an adult.
  • The walk is not suitable for children under 12 years.
  • This walk is intended for individual use and groups of people will be encouraged to begin the walk at staggered intervals. If you feel uncomfortable with the idea of being in quiet parts of The Rocks at night, please do not attempt the walk alone.
  • The wearing of comfortable shoes is recommended as the route involves steep staircases and uneven surfaces in low light.
  • Visitors are advised that the piece may provoke feelings of distraction and disorientation. Please be aware of your surroundings as you do this video walk.

Download for Android
Android™ 2.2 and above
1.7 GB

Download for iPhone
iPod touch 4, iPhone 4, iPhone 5, iPod touch 5
iOS 6.1 or later
1.8 GB


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 Julianna Engberg.

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

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