PERTH CULTURAL CENTRE: URBAN LIFE LABORATORY

First published in The Architect Journal – Autumn 2015

PERTH CULTURAL CENTRE: URBAN LIFE LABORATORY

When considering Perth over the last ten years, the Perth Cultural Centre can be seen as a test bed for urban revitalisation strategies in Western Australia; a desolate place blighted by the over-scaled ‘build it and they will come’ strategies of the 80s and 90s mall culture. The James Street precinct had big institutional destinations and heritage buildings steeped in history, but nothing to connect them together. The Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority¹ (MRA), operating as a well resourced pair of garden shears for red tape, rendered the Cultural Centre a ground of architectural experimentation. Architects, landscape architects, artists, placemakers and events organisers were commissioned to ‘revitalise’ the space with temporary and short term projects, bringing to mind Rem Koolhaas’² project Exodus, or Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture by way of Cedric Price’s Fun Palace – a space dedicated to pop culture and mass consumption; the strut that Robert Hughes found lacking in the Modern metropolis³. Part of this revitalisation effort was the installation of a large public screen, and during Architecture Week 2014, films made by architects, artists and students from around the world were shown as part of the inaugural Urban Screening. Continue reading “PERTH CULTURAL CENTRE: URBAN LIFE LABORATORY”

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Shattering the double glazed ceiling

Women should embrace the B’s in college to make more later

Came across this article on social media today. I think it could quite possibly be the first step towards breaking the ‘glass ceiling’. Continue reading “Shattering the double glazed ceiling”

Toy or Tool?

Just purchased my first iPad. For someone who’s never owned a tablet of any sort, picking one was a difficult decision. As a heavy Adobe Suite and Autodesk user I have become spoilt by my custom built PC with 23 inch monitor at home and my dual screen set up at the office that allow me to work in multiple windows at once at a comfortable processing speed. So why would even consider a 9.7 inch tablet? After an average ten hours a day sitting at a desk, that’s the last thing I want to do when I get home. So I started searching for an option for after hours emails, light photo editing and perhaps some digital sketching. Continue reading “Toy or Tool?”

GACB Exhibition Peer Review

The things I spend time and energy doing are first and foremost for myself. An added satisfaction is to have others take interest in my work. So it was great to read the latest post on the Architectural Happenings in Perth blog. Possibly our first peer review – a constructively critical considered one.

http://pertharchitecture.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/go-away-come-back-exhibition/

Stop Motion Time Travel

Last night we celebrated the closing of ‘Go Away and Come Back: an exhibition of architecture, travel, research, experience‘. It’s been a pleasure to work with this talented bunch. For those who didn’t make it, here’s what I exhibited. Continue reading “Stop Motion Time Travel”

Who’s says there’s nothing to do in Perth?!

The creative scene in Perth has been a buzz this week; with pianos in the streets, emerging jazz musicians killing it at The Ellington, Perth’s original swinger returning for a jaw-dropping hip-popping dance spectacle! And last but not least Jarrad Seng‘s captivating photography exhibition ‘a l l t e r v a t n’ opening the much anticipated MYRE project. Tonight’s creative indulgence was The Ephemeral Project at Spectrum Project Space. What a way to be inspired at the end of a day at a desk! Continue reading “Who’s says there’s nothing to do in Perth?!”

Artists + Architects

Reblogged from http://bluecarpetcollective.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/artists-architects.html

Loads of artist-run initiatives have popped up in Perth in the last year or so. What exactly are they and what do they bring to the local arts industry? What is it like to work with/for one? Advice for young artists just starting out. The pros and cons of ARIs vs traditional art galleries. How do you get involved or find representation as an artist? What does it means to be an emerging artist in WA and what part do galleries or studios play within this as a whole?

What’s the deal with ARI’s is one of two artist talks hosted by Buratti Fine Art as a part of BRIGHT LIGHTS, SMALL CITY, a showcase of contemporary art from early-career creatives in Western Australia.

Panel:

Anna Dunnill (Paper Mountain)
Sarah Rowbottam (Proximity Festival)
Shannon Williamson
Claire Bushby (Heathcote Museum & Gallery)
Alina + Danni (Shiritori Press)
Jessie Mitchell (Nedlands Tresillian Centre)
Dan Bourke Dale Buckley (Moana)

As a young architect with an interest in fine arts I sat in the audience keen to learn: a) what exactly are ARI’s [ar-ee’s]? and b) how do ARI’s affect me?

An Artist-Run Initiative can take many forms but typically has some of these key factors: 1) it is managed by artists, 2) operates on a non-profit basis, 3) has a continuing program of activities (Australia Council of Arts 2013). We’re talking gallery space: traditional/pop-up/collaborative. Think Heathcote Museum & Gallery/Paper Mountain/Mona.

The Australian government offers grants of up to $20,000 (Victorian ARI’s can apply for up to $25,000) designed to support ARI’s to present programs and/or activities that enrich the diversity of artistic practice in Australia and enable artists to make new work. To an outsider like myself who knows nothing about the costs of an ARI this sounds great, however the number of grants available are limited and tend to fall towards the eastern states. See the official list of ARI’s nationwide at http://crawl.net.au/index.php/artist-run-initiatives.

It was interesting to witness the panel focus a fair fraction of the discussion on funding, or lack thereof. The impression I got was that even the opportunity offered by the national government and supportive peer environment combined are not enough to aid the maintenance let alone growth of ARI’s in Perth. I was pleasantly surprised to hear the optimism towards the potentials of corporate funding and interdisciplinary collaboration. Then I was taken aback at hearing architects referred to in both these instances. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised as I was once guilty of the misconception about architects being wealthy professional magnates. This was obviously before I started my degree and spent time with real architects. Although I work for one of the few corporate firms in Perth there is a clear distinction between practicing corporate architecture and having a financial capacity to provide corporate funding. It is flattering that our profession is perceived as capable of providing both monetary and artistic support…or is it because of this perceived financial capability that artists would be willing to endure our collaboration?

As the discussion progressed from rent and administration overheads to the pro’s of a non-artist-based board/committee, focus shifted towards the physicality of ARI spaces. Dan related a challenging experience he had faced with a space that presented a undesirable size and layout combined with unusual interior finishes. Dale shared his collaborative process with Spacemarket architects-educators-visionaries Nic and Beth of transforming a neglected space into the dynamic gallery-studio-cafe that is now Moana. Jessie expressed her excitement in the potentials of an “empty” council space. It sounds to me that some artists like white/black boxes while others are game to collaborate with other designers to feed off the existing character of a space to enrich the art making/viewing experience.

The second artist talk IN FOCUS: Fine Art and Commercial Photography in WA will take place at 3pm on Saturday October 5th. The panel of local photographers will discuss…

What does it means to be a photographer in this isolated state? What are the opportunities for local photographers in both a fine art and commercial sense? Advice for younger photographers starting out. How do you get your work out there? Digital vs. film. A general discussion about the medium.

Audience participation is encouraged. This event will be particularly interesting for student and amateur photographers, and is also a networking event for WA photographers of all backgrounds and level of experience.

BRIGHT LIGHTS, SMALL CITY at Buratti Fine Art runs until October 12th.
Gallery hours: Wed-Fri 10am-5pm Sat 11am-4pm
Address: 222 Queen Victoria Street, North Fremantle WA 6159

This is MC’s debut in a commercial exhibition with three illustrations titled ‘Claustrophia’, ‘Agony’ and ‘Liberation. All works are for sale.

An arty arvo

A couple of weekends ago I spent a delightful afternoon at the charming Fremantle Arts Centre. More often than I like to admit, I have walked away from exhibitions feeling a deficiency in artistic knowledge has prevented me from completely understanding and enjoying the works. This time, however, I came out utterly satisfied and inspired by some captivating works: Continue reading “An arty arvo”

Parallel Nippon – an exhibition I liked

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“Parallel Nippon contains 100+ large-scale photo panels of landmark designs, architectural models and video footage. The exhibition is divided into four thematic sections: Urban, Life, Culture and Living, a cross-sectional view of Japanese society. These areas represent the revolutionary, innovative and progressive architectural achievements realised not only in Japan but across the world as projects of Japanese architects.” http://www.perth.au.emb-japan.go.jp/en/top_whatsnew/2013parallel_nippon.html

I thoroughly enjoyed an afternoon drooling over architectural models and planning a Japanese architectural travel itinerary with equally enthusiastic architect friends. Continue reading “Parallel Nippon – an exhibition I liked”