EXPANDED ARCHITECTURE AT THE ROCKS : REVERSE PROJECTIONS in 2013 was an artist residency program, exhibition and symposium.

RESIDENCY + EXHIBITION

Collaborative works by spatial art practitioners made during a month long residency about a heritage listed building in The Rocks, Sydney, were presented in a one night only exhibition. Collaborations were between members of a spatial arts team, and individual artists and members of The Rocks community. Proposals responded to the concept of Reverse Projections, which is the idea of re-constructing multifarious aspects of The Rocks back inside of The Rocks Pop-Up Space, these were comprised of installation, moving image projection, and performance. The Exhibition was on 8th November 6-9pm at 136-138 Cumberland Street The Rocks, Sydney as part of Sydney Architecture Festival.

 

 

A LIBRARY OF DIY ARCHITECTURE

Zanny Begg

The Library of Living Structures is an expanding resource gathered through conversations with people who are transforming both how we imagine and live in the city. These conversations will explore how we can “retrofit” or “hack” our urban environment in sustainable, survivalist and resilient ways. Out of each conversation will come recommendation for books, manuals or resources that will populate the library as an expanding archive of DIY urbanism.

The Library of Living Structures begins at the Expanded Architecture Residency Program at The Rocks and will be housed in shelves built using a design from the classic 1974 manual of DIY architecture by Ken Issacs, How to Build Your Own Living Structures. . The Rocks is an apt place for such a project as its historic houses were saved in the 1970s through the Green Bans, a collaborative struggle between unions and residents that put a halt to unsustainable development of the area. The Library will explore the power of no – protests such as the Green Bans – but also the power of yes – the multitude of ways in which people work around or through the existing urban environment to build their own future friendly living habitats. 

Zanny Begg is a Sydney based curator, cross-disciplinary artist, writer and organiser. Her work uses humour, understated drawings and found cultural artifacts to explore ways in which we can live and be in the world differently.  Zanny often works collaboratively and her work seeks a dialogue with the communities within which it is based, the people who inform it and/or its viewers. Her work probes the social and spatial architecture of life in urban environments and questions what it means to be political today. Zanny is the Director of Tin Sheds Gallery at the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, The University of Sydney: www.zannybegg.com

 

A ROOM AN EYE

Ross Anderson, Simon Weir and Kevin Liu

A Room An Eye responds directly to the theme of Reverse Projections by installing multiple cameras obscura in one upper-floor room of the designated heritage building in The Rocks. The uncanny image re-produced by a camera obscura (Latin ‘darkened chamber’) is contingent on the specific conditions of the room and its site. It produces an exact yet inverted re-production of an external scene on the rear wall of a darkened room as light passes through a small aperture in the front wall. It is not so much an act of representation of the surroundings as it is a capturing. A Room an Eye will expand the scope of a rudimentary camera obscura by using multiple apertures, some lengths of pipe, mirrors and lenses, to be determined at the commencement of the residency.

Conceptually, the territory that will be explored is the tension created by the capturing of The Rocks in a room, oscillating between the urban and domestic, the public and private, resonating with architectural projects such as the surrealist roof terrace of Le Corbusier’s Casa Bestegui, 1931 which sets up a metaphorical relationship between the Arc de Triomphe and a fireplace, grass and carpet, and a ceiling and the sky.

Whilst interaction with the work will be in situ, still digital photographs will be taken periodically during the residency and will be compiled into a 12 minute stop-motion film. Like Andy Warhol’s 1964 film Empire, it will foreground the unerring constancy of the scenes and register subtle alterations in the weather, movement of vehicles outside and of people both inside and outside the room. The regular cycle of day and night will lend a visual rhythm.

A Room An Eye will be a properly site specific work in The Rocks that engages directly with this year’s Expanded Architecture exhibition theme of Reverse Projections.

Ross Anderson, Simon Weir and Kevin Liu are all affiliated with the University of Sydney and are involved in teaching and research in architecture. Ross is a senior lecturer focusing on modern and contemporary German architecture and philosophy, oriented philosophically by phenomenology and hermeneutics. He is also engaged in creative practices that explore the imaginative roles played by drawing and photography in architecture. Simon is a lecturer focusing on Salvador Dali’s theories of Surrealism, Classical Greece and Rome and the foundational philosophies and mythologies of architectural culture. He also works creatively in the fine arts, producing paintings, drawings and etchings. Kevin is a printmaker and a freelance designer specialising in copper plate intaglio etching, and on the historic photographic mediums of mezzotint and photogravure.

 

AURAL VISION: ROCKS IN YOUR HEAD

Edward Leckie and Lindsay Webb

Aural Vision: Rocks in Your Head sets out to record and reset the aural character of The Rocks. Its resynthesis of a collected ambience is a Reverse Projection, a synaesthetic remix of environment. The output of the project redresses the privileging of vision atmospheres over sound atmospheres by evoking a surprising sensory vertigo. Synaesthesia is often associated with the paranormal, with hauntings and reverberances. Aural Vision aims to make the radical continuity of this much-photographed city space perceptible as never before.

Implicit in the project is a belief that interrogation of site through non-visual elements provides heightened maps that are rich and specific beyond the limitations of the photograph. The team, whose expertise spans architecture, urbanism, academia, media art and engineering, believes there are explicit auditive characteristics which, when ‘reverse engineered’ and relocated in time/space, express the fuller sensory body of a place.

Two types of sound recordings are made: a network of walks, and durational recordings of locations. Upon editing the aural data into a package of consumable recordings that attempt to render the shifts in spatial fields and temporal scales apparent, the team then transforms the sampled sonic imagery into art materials for the larger experimental phase, which explores experience of place through synaesthesia.

 As information, sound waves are analogous to optical electromagnetic waves. Both are reduced to electrical voltages and introduced to a system where they interact with each other. Sound recordings are fed instead of camera input into an onsite hybrid analogue/digital environment: the LZX Visionary Analogue Video Synthesizer developed by team member Ed Leckie. Each running of the system is unique and considered a dynamic performance. The final exhibition is an immersive audiovisual transmission that prompts people to recognise the vibratory quality of the sensory input; the boundaries are collapsed, the vision is the sound.

Edward Leckie is an electronics engineer, video artist, music producer, and co-developer of the LZX Visionary Analogue Video Synthesizer. His video artwork has been widely exhibited, from Sydney’s SerialSpace to the Hyperlink Festival at the Tate Modern, London. Ed’s music duo Bleepin’ J Squawkins is a stalwart of the Club Kooky events in Sydney. Lindsay Webb is an architect, urbanist and sound artist educated at UNSW and Städelschule: Academy of Art, Frankfurt. Whilst Assistant Professor to the Chair of Urban Design, Technical University, Berlin 2008–9, Lindsay became an advocate for better understandings/treatments of sound and acoustics in the built environment.

 

BETWEEN THE LINES

Rachel Couper, Ivana Kuzmanovska  and Kate Dunn

Between the Lines responds to the unique history of The Rocks by engaging with the history of the residents and in particular, the women of the area. Since the early days of convict settlement women have had a significant presence in The Rocks as the owners of pubs, boarding houses, shops, and laundries.

Their industrious, somewhat renegade presence in The Rocks has been hugely influential to its character, however there is little historical record of women in the area compared to that of men. Grace Karsens, author of Inside the Rocks, The Archeology of a Neighbourhood, believes that what has recently emerged via archeological excavations of The Rocks is the fact that ‘women, whilst mostly excluded from ‘public’ life, nevertheless played essential roles in developing and occupying  the site, in building business, community and family matters.’[1] Indicative of women’s labour, the streetscapes of The Rocks were often strung with lines upon lines of washing. Critics of the area vigorously campaigned against the practice, protesting that the billowing personal items on display created a slum like environment.

Between the Lines utilises this once ubiquitous custom by reintroducing the hanging of laundry and sheets above the site. The sheets, screenprinted with content drawn from the site, essentially form a mapping of the lives of the residents, both past and present.

The work not only responds to the history of the ‘domestic life’ of the women of The Rocks but other issues such as urbanization, overcrowding and the harsh living conditions the majority of residents endured. Between the Lines also reflects the Sydney Architecture Festival’s theme Your City/Your Community by altering the urban environment of The Rocks, displaying evidence of private residential life across the public realm of the streetscape.

 [1] Grace Karsens, Inside the Rocks, The Archeology of a Neighbourhood, (Sydney, Hale and  Iremonger, 1999), 137.

Rachel Couper and Ivana Kuzmanovska began collaborating during the Masters of Architecture, at the University of Sydney, designing an installation work which culminated in Mirador, a sculpture exhibited in Sculpture by the Sea 2012. They both tutor architectural design at the University of Sydney, where Rachel is also a PHD candidate. Kate Dunn is also a PHD candidate and tutor at the University of Sydney as well as a practicing artist with considerable experience. Dunn’s work is in numerous private and institutional collections, she has been an artist in residence at ANU and a guest lecturer at New York University. Dunn has also exhibited at SOFA Chicago and Sculpture by the Sea numerous times.

(IN)SCAPE: FILM

Michael Tawa and Lymesmith / Sonia van de Haar

(In)scape: film

The Victorian poet Gerard Manley Hopkins coined the motifs of inscape and instress to indicate those formal and dynamic aspects of a thing, or place, that constitute its essential, `individually-distinctive-beauty.’ The cadences of Hopkins’ poetry will serve as guide for this collaborative, ambient work, whose aim is to give visitors an experience of inscape of the Rocks – as well as the slow, inexorable withdrawal of the place from the collective memory and urban fabric of Sydney. Two complementary installations will convey the fragile materialities and virtualities of The Rocks, and the memories that attach to it, into the spaces of 136-138 Cumberland Street. The venue will thereby function metaphorically like a camera obscura in which our experiences of the world will, by `reverse-projection,’ become intensified and thus differently perceived, appreciated and valued.

One installation (Lymesmith) will reconstitute the materiality and patina of The Rocks to produce a fictional archive of colour history; of coloured scrapes, films, flakes, substances, layers and stains to re-present and condense The Rocks’ chromatic ambiance. The installation invites consideration of the ‘heritage’ range of colours, their thickness and materiality, associations with historic fabric, cycles of care and neglect, and future application in the city. It provides a window into the colourful roots of the colony, and suggests a possible future for this very earth bound and resonant colour palette.

A parallel installation (Tawa) of film projections onto interior room walls will feature juxtapositions of moving images that produce abstract interpretations of past uses of the building as a draper’s and dwelling for Maori whalers among others long forgotten. Large format projections of patterns and colours characteristic of The Rocks will combine with an abstract, ambient sound-scape and engage the architecture of the building. Film sequences will extend the chromatic research by Lymesmith, providing a virtual or ephemeral parallel to the material catalogue and archive.

Gardner, W.H and MacKenzie, N.H. The Poems of Gerard Manley HopkinsOxford: Oxford University Press, 1970: xx.

Michael Tawa is an architect, Professor of Architecture at the University of Sydney and Visiting Professor at the University of Newcastle (UK). He has been Visiting Thinker at the Centre for Ideas (VCA, 2011) and External Scholar, SASA Gallery (UniSA, 2010/2013). His book Agencies of the Frame (2010) investigated parallels between cinema and architecture. He has collaborated with artists including Paul Carter, Janet Laurence, Richard Goodwin and Ruark Lewis; and worked with Mireille Astore on the film Hunter for the group show Alchemy (SCA, 2012) and Belqis Youssofzay on Interstice for the Tin Sheds group show Badlands and Interstice (2013).

Lymesmith creates architectural colour concepts for buildings, infrastructure, walls, streetscapes, public places, landscapes and interiors. The name Lymesmith was coined to describe one who works with lime, and whose practice makes essential connections between architecture, painting and urban design. Lime is a ubiquitous substance and ingredient in mortar, cement, plaster and paint, forming an essential link between built form and ‘decoration’. In Australia, Aboriginal shell middens were gathered up and burnt in kilns to create shell lime for construction in the colony. For this reason, the Sydney rock oyster has been adopted for Lymesmith’s logo.

Sonia van de Haar completed a BA in Visual Arts (Painting) in 1993 and a BArch in 2003. She studied painting at the Canberra Institute of the Arts, architecture at UNSW and fresco painting at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India. Sonia founded Lymesmith in 2004, undertaking a range of work from architecture and colour consultancies, to large-scale public art and infrastructure projects in Australia and the UK. Recent public art projects include design of the Plant and Tri-generation chimneys at the Prince Alfred Park Pool Upgrade, with Neeson Murcutt Architects, and the complete re-painting of seven buildings in Darcy Street, Parramatta CBD for Parramatta City Council.

 

 

THE LOST STREET

Cristina Garduño Freeman, Antonia Fredman and Vicki Leibowitz

The Lost Street is an attempt to recreate the former site of Princes Street, The Rocks, which was demolished between 1926-31 to make way for the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The condemned street was documented in the City of Sydney Council’s ‘Demolition Books’ – a haunting photographic series that forms the basis of the project by Cristina Garduño Freeman, Antonia Fredman and Vicki Leibowitz. A section of Princes Street will be remade as miniature paper dioramas, or ‘pop-ups’. The white card model used by architects to represent potential built form – that is, a projection into an imagined future – becomes a reimagining of the past, a reverse projection, and a fragile souvenir of this lost urban space.

The history of The Rocks, since the displacement of the Gadigal people, has been marked by waves of destruction and redevelopment. Large areas were cleared and remodeled after the outbreak of bubonic plague in 1900. As Princes Street was erased from the map, 300 houses were destroyed and their inhabitants relocated without compensation. The notion of “heritage” has been central to the rebranding of The Rocks as a tourist destination since the growth of the heritage conservation movement following the anti-development protests of the 1970s.

Traditionally ‘heritage’ has been conceived in terms of material objects and places. The Lost Street explores how the heritage of The Rocks might be understood through a social engagement with lost urban space. The project explores the potentiality of the souvenir (literally, memory) to represent the absent, the lost and the domestic. The Lost Street posits that in opening and closing the diorama, the visitor is engaged in a continual process of revealing and concealing, making and unmaking the absent architecture of Princes Street. The diorama, as popular tourist souvenir, compresses the experience of a city into a miniature scene of iconic buildings and monuments, offering a new form of critical engagement with forms of heritage, now lost.

Cristina Garduño Freeman, Antonia Fredman and Vicki Leibowitz are interdisciplinary practitioners with experience in architecture, design, heritage and art. In a professional capacity, Cristina Garduño Freeman has worked on innovative projects such as Sydney Olympic Ships 2000 with Tim Williams Architects and more recently on Super Sydney 2013. Antonia Fredman is a designer with a background in film, television and theatre. Her animated films draw on real estate, tourism and home renovation media to question the ‘authorship’ of urban space. Vicki Leibowitz currently completing a PhD. Previously she has been engaged with art and curation in a variety of forms, including the BartleyNees Gallery, 20u40 Design Competition and TVNZ’s Mitre10 Dream Home, while residing in New Zealand.

 

SYMPOSIUM

 

Expanded Architecture at The Rocks invited critical investigations of theoretical and historical content from academics, as well as practice-oriented contributions from architects, artists and curators, that reflect upon concept of Reverse Projections. All proposed papers were assessed by a double blind peer review process of the abstract and full paper before being presented at the symposium and included in the catalogue. The accepted papers introduce new perspectives of aspects of an urban environment, to be re-presented through site-specific engagement. At the end of each session, an open dialogue format allowed for the discussion of positions and contrapositions in theme, technique, method, concept, material, and perception.

 MICHAEL TAWA

Unseemly projections

Jean-Luc Nancy contends that art works only when it transgresses its foundational limits; when it verges onto, implies and impels another art. To verge is also to verse or pour-into; to project in a mode of reversal.  At this seemingly contradictory threshold, one art touches another without fusing, co-responds without integrating, indicates without appropriating. Expanding towards its limits, it reaches a state of extreme opposition: it is most itself only when it begins to work against (its) `nature’; when it becomes improprietous, delinquent and unseemly. Consequently cinema—the dynamic manipulation of kinematic material—only becomes itself when it opens onto radical immobility, when it spatialises. Likewise, architecture—the static manipulation of tectonic material—only becomes itself when it reverts to radical kinetics, when it temporalises. This presentation will engage the theme of Reverse Projection by investigating such moments of reversal in the conditions of architecture and cinema by asking how temporalised architecture and spatialised cinema can enable a heightened sense of place.

If, for Deleuze, the ultimate deterritorialisation for language is music, if a deterritorialised language is a `becoming-musical,’ then the ultimate deterritorialisation for cinema is to eclipse temporality by a `becoming-immobile’ or `becoming-architectural.’ The experience of immobility, of time passing so slowly that its passage passes unnoticed, would then constitute what is essential to cinema and at the same time what is the least kinematic. This would manifest as a sense of absolute immanence—a simultaneous presence at all times and of all times. By implication, the ultimate deterritorialisation for architecture is to eclipse spatiality by a `becoming-mobile’ or `becoming cinematic.’ In this way cinema and architecture can, each in their own way and without contradiction, crystallise and liquefy the mnemonics of place—those memories of appropriation and erasure, presences and absences out of which place is interminably (un)made.

References
Jean-Luc Nancy, The Muses. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996.
Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet, Dialogues. Paris: Flammarion, 1996.

Michael Tawa is an architect, Professor of Architecture at the University of Sydney and Visiting Professor at the University of Newcastle (UK). He has been Visiting Thinker at the Centre for Ideas (VCA, 2011) and External Scholar, SASA Gallery (UniSA, 2010/2013). His book Agencies of the Frame (2010) investigated parallels between cinema and architecture. He has collaborated with artists including Paul Carter, Janet Laurence, Richard Goodwin and Ruark Lewis; and worked with Mireille Astore on the film Hunter for the group show Alchemy (SCA, 2012) and Belqis Youssofzay on Interstice for the Tin Sheds group show Badlands and Interstice (2013).

 

THEA BREJZEK and LAWRENCE WALLEN

Subject, Site and Sight: Freud and Tschumi on the Acropolis

 

‘For example, Lukianowicz (1958) describes a case of autoscopy in which an architect observed a complete duplicate of himself enter the room, merge with himself, and then depart again.’

In 2013, the authors, en route to Barcelona, were delayed in Athens. They found themselves for the first time standing on the Acropolis and completing within a timeframe of twenty-four hours the spatial narrative that is staged between the Parthenon, the remains of the Dionysian Theatre on the Southern slopes of the Acropolis and, across the site of the theatre, the 2009 Acropolis Museum by French-Swiss Architect Bernard Tschumi and his Athens-based partner/project architect Michael Photiadis.

In 1904, diverted by circumstance to Athens rather than Corfu, the brothers Freud found themselves unhappy by the change in destination. Standing on the Acropolis, an uncanny thought had entered Freud’s mind: ‘So does this all really exist like we have learned it at school?’ The experience seemed one of unreality, and Freud categorized it as ‘A Disturbance of Memory’[i] during which he observed himself as separating into himself and another whose perception of the situation was an entirely different one.

Spectators in the theatre of Dionysos, or any other theatre, anywhere and at any time, are willing participants in the conspiracy of this double act of looking that produces the exact double consciousness, or: autoscopic experience, that Freud describes so persuasively.

In architectural discourse, the consideration of autoscopy in conjunction with processes of reverse projection, argued here to be a performative practice that engages with site in a critical discursive manner, poses a counterpart to phenomenological positions that speak of the identity of body and self.

 


[i] Freud  S (1936). Eine Erinnerungsstoerung auf der Akropolis. First published in Almanach der Psychoanalyse 1937, Wien 1936, p. 9-21. — Gesammelte Werke, Volume 16, p. 250-7.

 Thea Brejzek (PhD, Mphil, BSc) is Professor for Spatial Theory at the University of Technology Sydney. and a PhD supervisor  in the Theatre Studies Department at the University of Vienna. Thea Brejzeks research focus is on transdisciplinary practices and the politics of space in performative environments. In 2013, Thea Brejzek is Visiting Professor at Bartlett School of Architecture. Lawrence Wallen (PhD, MArch, BArch) is Professor and Head of School of Design at the University of Technology Sydney. A trained visual artist and architect, Lawrence Wallens research and practice is concerned with the mapping of urban space in such a way that the complexity and shifting nature of such entitites is made visible.

 

KATE RICHARDS

Unhomely: site specific installation in Reynold’s Cottage, The Rocks, June 2013.

As winter’s dusk encroaches, the shutters open, the blank windows flash alive in vacant Reynold’s Cottage. Through the unraveling night the cottage innards twist and flutter with glimpses of disarray, despair and turmoil, a spirit lens on the turbulent world of mid twentieth century Sydney.

Unhomely is ‘expanded cinema’ comprising 6 video channels projected inside 1830s Reynold’s Cottage.  This paper provides insight into the artists’ engagement with the architectural site, the creative context, the mobilising concepts and design methodology.

Since 1999 we have creatively interrogated an archive of mid-20Cth Sydney crime scene images as a springboard for numerous multimedia artworks, collectively called Life After Wartime. In Unhomely we effect an uncanny and spooky audience experience, by filling and possessing Reynold’s Cottage with unfolding scenographies created from our crime archive. Unhomely engages architecturally and historically with the cottage, evoking an unhomely inner city Sydney, the windows a dark lens on Sydney’s hard and dirty past, a shifty harbour-side spirit-world. The notion unhomely has an evocative, recursive etymology and I show how this has informed our design strategies.

The audience views the cottage from outside, front and back. Our creative design was partially inspired by Jung’s ‘dream house’. In Unhomely, we used rear-projected video of slowly moving crime scenes and oversized portraits of victims and perpetrators. Upstairs was more abstract: a borderless, spatial improbability– car headlights scan the interior, rain pours down.  At the rear, the kitchen becomes a diorama of projection and real objects, modeled on an actual crime scene. On the window of the sleep-out, objects – tools of illegal street trades – spawn and unfold like a chrysalis. By reanimating the cottage with archival material, the artists produced an affective, dark and uncanny public experience.

Kate Richards develops, creates and produces in the new media bandwidth. She has expertise encompassing video installation, many forms of interactivity, data visualisation for both art and science, web and virtual worlds, phone and tablet apps and augmented reality. Kate has been creating with interactive multimedia for 20 years and exhibits electronic art in Australia and internationally, as well as working as a multimedia producer for cultural and corporate sector clients.

 

CRISTINA GARDUNO FREEMAN, VICKI LEIBOWITZ and ANTONIA FREDMAN

The Lost Street: Rematerialising heritage

This paper seeks to examine shifting theoretical notions of memory and heritage through the spectre of Princes Street (now the Rocks), discussing the role that creative practice and acts of re-materialisation, such as drawing, modeling, photographing and replicating, can play in resituating concepts of heritage and the value of material form. It is based around the notion that architecture does not reside merely in the material, seeking to examine other means by which we can engage with architecture through the image, the photograph, the model and the souvenir.

Princes Street was demolished between 1926-31 to make way for the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Today, the Rocks has been reinvented as a tourist site steeped in constructed notions of ‘history’ and ‘heritage’. Yet this identity does not acknowledge the presence of the former Princes Street: the unseen, absent architectures that characterized an entirely different urban landscape. The only traces that remain of these original buildings are a series of photographs, collected in the City of Sydney Council’s “Demolition Books”, which were produced to record the impending destruction of urban space around Sydney between 1900 and 1949.

Drawing upon primary research from the archives of the “Demolition Books”, the histories of The Rocks, and ideas central to Critical Heritage Studies, the paper will examine shifting notions of the significance of the material in constructions of heritage value. Memory theorist Pierre Nora’s dual concepts of ‘lieux de mémoire’ and ‘milieux de mémoire’ in conjunction with Beatriz Colomina’s arguments around the reception and consumption of architecture will also be utilized to examine notions of creative practice as a means of engaging with architecture. In this way the paper will explore whether creative architectural practice, the act of making, can respond to the challenge Critical Heritage Studies poses for places of architectural heritage.

Cristina Garduño Freeman, Vicki Leibowitz and Antonia Fredman are interdisciplinary scholars and practitioners. Cristina Garduño Freeman’s PhD research investigates the social value of the Sydney Opera House through Flickr, Pinterest and the Utzon Memorial website. Currently completing a PhD at University of Queensland, Vicki Leibowitz’s prior research examines the role of architecture in the construction and eradication of memory in post-Apartheid South Africa. Antonia Fredman is a designer with a background in film, television and theatre, and was recently awarded her Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Sydney. Collectively, their research focuses on the representation of, and the social engagement with, architecture: as an object of art, of memory, and of heritage.

 

YVETTE HAMILTON

An Important Survivor

“All buildings are, more or less, psychological entities – projections, even”[i].

This paper will discuss how my own artwork and Expanded Architecture examine these projections through creative practice. Centering on an exploration of a recently completed body of work that I produced during a residency in 2012 in a site not dissimilar to Cumberland St, I will demonstrate how historical buildings resemble reverse projections – holding their own light steady while also reflecting the shifting urban landscapes that surround them.

No. 136 – 138 Cumberland Street is an ‘important survivor’[ii].

Viewed from above, the site is dwarfed, overwhelmed and almost overtaken by skyscrapers, overpasses, and the presumptive assumptions of a growing city that nips at its heels. Exploring the urban environment around the site through the lens of Google street view is akin to ‘Playing Beattie Bow’[iii], where a click too far endows the viewer with time-travelling abilities. What should be an impossible journey – zooming across and through the passage of time in a warp speed – is made possible by the multifarious ages that are found side by side within the unique architectural fabric of the Rocks precinct.

The Expanded Architecture project – in seeking to incorporate, mediate and re-present this layered urban environment within a historical site, sits in close quarters with my work as a lens based practitioner who works with, and responds to, sites in tension. This paper will explore how creative engagement with these ‘important survivors’ can act as a reverse projection – casting light on the shifts and slips that occur within our urban surrounds.


References
[i] David Littlefield and Saskia Lewis, Architectural Voices: Listening to Old Buildings, Great Britain: John Wiley and Sons, 2007.
[ii] Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Heritage and Conservation Register, Statement of Significance, accessed August 23rd 2013, http://www.shfa.nsw.gov.au/sydney-About_us-Our_heritage_role-Heritage_and_Conservation_Register.htm&objectid=67
[iii] Playing Beattie Bow is a teenage historical novel set in The Rocks by Australian author Ruth Park. The central protagonist becomes an unwilling time traveller from present day to late nineteenth century Rocks life.

Yvette Hamilton is a photographic, video and installation artist. Her work focuses on the resonant links between place and consciousness, primarily concentrating on the ineffable, the immaterial and the temporal. She has exhibited widely in Australia, at galleries such as Australian Centre for Photography, First Draft, Gaffa and The Centre for Contemporary Photography and she has also exhibited in London and Slovenia. She is currently a Master of Fine Arts (Research) candidate at Sydney College of the Arts. www.yvettehamilton.com


CAMPBELL DRAKE

Reverse Projections : Architecture as a Performative agent  

In September / October 2012, the Contemporary Site Investigations Collective undertook a five week residency within the revered but unvisited old sections of Melbournes Flinders Street Station. Commissioned by the City of Melbourne Public Art Program, the project aimed to reposition public perception by engaging the collective fascination of opening up high profile hidden spaces not usually opened to the public.

Whilst temporal in nature, Contemporary Site Investigations (CSI) Flinders Street Station,  suggests  site  specific  performative  art  works  in  heritage  and  redundant spaces can have longer lasting affects than works produced in conventional gallery spaces. In the fleeting space between building and renewal, this project offered a re-­‐ interpretation of public art beyond traditional artwork / spectator and performer / audience relationships. Such spatial practice offers an immersive experience in which the public are encouraged to explore and make new found connections between existing architectural environments, site specific interventions and between people themselves.

Prior to commencing the residency within the station, participating artists did not premeditate  or  predetermine  visual,  spatial  or  aural  outcomes.  Instead  projects were actualized by the site itself and informed by contextualized research including history, text, dialogue, anecdotes, people, spatial characteristics and site conditions. As a consequence of occupational health and safety concerns, the public were not allowed direct access within the coveted interior spaces of the Station. Such a constraint within the context of a public art, provoked careful consideration and collaborative debate in how to develop works that engage a diverse audience and transform public perception without first hand experience.

 Without direct public site access, CSI Flinders Street Station adopted a strategy of multiple public outcomes or reverse projections in which the public could experience the interior spaces without actually entering them. These strategies involved video, lighting, sound, print and historical reenactment and concluded with a performance in the flinders street ballroom that was projected live to Federation Square screen and to the world wide web, as well as audio projection into the domed concourse and platforms. Each of the six artworks produced drew on the Stations specific histories, present realities and future scenarios, with the aim of creating thought provoking sensorial additions, adaptations and transformations.

Situated  at  the  center  of  the  project  is  an  iconic  public  building  suggesting  the impact  of  such  projects  is  tied  to  the  performativity  of  architecture  to  reveal moments of social, cultural and political significance. Expanding on this notion and adopting  CSI  Flinders  Street  Station  as  an  exemplary  case  study  this  paper  will explore architecture as a performative agent within contemporary arts practice.

 Campbell Drake completed a Bachelor of Architecture at RMIT University in 2005. Campbell completed a Masters of Research Architecture at Goldsmiths University, London in 2010 and is currently a PhD candidate at RMIT University. In 2010, Campbell co-founded Regional Associates, an architectural practice specializing in unconventional, sustainable design solutions in environmentally sensitive locations. Campbell is a sessional lecturer at the School of Architecture & Design, RMIT University and Monash School of Art Design and Architecture. Campbell has given master classes at the University of South Australia, the Lae Technical University, Papua New Guinea and has been invited to lecture at the Technical University of Berlin, Uganda Martyrs University, Uganda and the Architectural Association in London.

 

ROSS ANDERSON

A Room An Eye: Situated

A Room An Eye responds directly to the theme of Reverse Projections by installing multiple cameras obscura in one upper-floor room of the designated heritage building in The Rocks. This paper situates the work conceptually, identifies relevant historical precedents and discusses the meaning of the work within the specific cultural and urban context of The Rocks.

A camera obscura (Latin ‘darkened chamber’) is an enigmatic optical instrument producing an exact yet inverted re-production of an external scene on the rear wall of a darkened room as light passes through a small aperture in the front wall. Whilst the principle is ancient it was properly described by Giambattista della Porta in his Magia Naturalis, 1558. He made the analogical connection between the human eye and the darkened room, which orients the current project.

The work also takes up the apparently timeless and cross-cultural theme of seeing clearly as a metaphor for understanding, for example in Plato’s ancient Greek allegory of the cave in the Republic and in a phrase in Corinthians: “For now we see through a glass, darkly.” That is, imperfect reality on earth is a lesser or clouded version of life beyond. A tension is also established in the oscillation between the urban and domestic, the public and private, resonating with architectural projects such as the surrealist roof terrace of Le Corbusier’s Casa Bestegui, 1931 that creates a metaphorical relationship between the Arc de Triomphe and a fireplace, grass and carpet, and a ceiling and the sky.

Whilst interaction with the work will be in situ, still digital photographs will be taken periodically during the residency and will be compiled into a 12 minute stop-motion film. Like Andy Warhol’s 1964 film Empire, it will foreground the unerring constancy of the scenes and register subtle alterations in the weather, movement of vehicles outside and of people both inside and outside the room. The regular cycle of day and night will lend a visual rhythm.

A Room An Eye will be a properly site specific work in The Rocks that engages directly with this year’s Expanded Architecture theme of Reverse Projections.

Ross Anderson is a Senior Lecturer in architectural design, history and theory at the University of Sydney. His research focuses on modern and contemporary German architecture and philosophy, oriented by phenomenology and hermeneutics. He is also engaged in creative practices that explore the imaginative roles played by drawing and photography in architectural representation and reception, and writes on contemporary architecture informed by practice in the architectural offices of Daniel Libeskind and Zvi Hecker in Berlin.

 

ROCHUS URBAN HINKEL

Urban Interior Atmosphere: Flinders Lane, Melbourne Diurnal

Urban Ephemeral Room inverted the diurnal urban life of the outside world into the contained space of a white-cube gallery. The work was conceived as a co-production between an architect, projection artist, video editor and sound artist and manufactured an ephemeral urban interior out of projected images, video projection, sound installation and live performance.

Melbourne central city, unlike the Rocks, Sydney, presents an urban fabric cut out according to a grid composed of a rhythm of major and minor streets that align with the pale brown flow of the Yarra river. Flinders Lane, originally one of Melbourne’s minor service streets, is now home to a series of small gallery spaces, one of which is Craft Victoria. If you were to descend into Craft Victoria, on a mild day in September 2008, you would have apprehended not a collection of crafted artefacts, but a strangely familiar urban interior atmosphere. In effect Urban Ephemeral Room created a series of spatio-temporal displacements and conflations the aim of which was, in part, to investigate what shapes our urban experience, to question the habitual privileging of the architectural object, and to destabilise assumptions about what architecture as a practice can be perceived to be.

UER emerges out of design or practice-led research, an approach that seeks to expand the limits of the discipline of architecture, and extend the field in transdisciplinary directions. In her seminal essay of 1979, ‘Sculpture in the Expanded Field’, Rosalind Krauss presents what was then a contemporary approach to sculpture that exceeded the disciplinary limits that had previously constrained it, and challenged the burden of precedence. As an exploration of expanded architecture, Urban Ephemeral Room likewise seeks to extend the methodological domain of architecture by challenging distinctions between the composition of urban and interior environments, and what materials and processes can be used to compose architectural atmospheres. Space, urban spaces in particular are at the core of this investigation, touching on questions of experience and perception, environment and atmosphere and in the midst of these factors locating the individual experience, and further, arguing for a collective experience by way of the concept of ‘social atmospheres’.

The emphasis is placed less on designerly objects, details, and artefacts, and more on the fleeting composition, experience and perception of atmospheres. As a key concept ‘atmospheres’ suggest a powerful way of expanding architecture as a discipline. It is a term that has been discussed or else alluded to by such theorists and philosophers as Gaston Bachelard, Gernot Böhme, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. As the architectural theorist Mark Wigley has argued, atmospheres can also be seen to be at work in the more socio-politically motivated work of the Situationists Internationale. Atmospheres are not merely meteorological, or emotional, or only about how the human subject discovers fleeting union with their environment, but how social collectives recognise their being-together. In response to the Expanded Architecture event to be held at the Rocks, Sydney, this essay proposes to present an account of an expanded architectural exploration that makes use of alternative means such as image and sound projection toward the creation of urban interior atmospheres and their social implications.

Rochus Urban Hinkel is an architect, academic, curator, publisher, based in Stockholm and Melbourne. His practice has won architecture and design awards, and has been published and exhibited in Europe, Asia and Australia. Rochus curated several exhibitions and urban events, and convened colloquia on ‘Homefullness’ (Stockholm), ‘Relational Participation’ (Berlin), and ‘Urban Interior’ (Melbourne and Berlin). He taught at RMIT School of Architecture and Design, Melbourne; the Academy of Fine Arts, Stuttgart; the University of Stuttgart and the TU Berlin. Rochus is completing his PhD by creative works at the University of Melbourne; he is series editor of AADR–Art Architecture Design Research (Spurbuchverlag).