As part of Nite Art, 2015, this exhibition was curated for offices and a balcony located in Total House (aka TV House): an iconic Melbourne building, which includes elements inspired by the Japanese metabolist and brutalist architectural movements. Total House was added to the Victorian heritage register in 2014 amidst controversial plans for redevelopment of the site.
The exhibition was presented in the office of design and architectural studios, Crowd Productions and Shelley Roberts Architects.
The first work encountered is Replay, by Default Collective, a site-specific video installation documenting the street-level entrance to the elevator servicing the offices in Total House. The constant opening and closing of a door to an empty lift suggests the monotony of office life, while the highly reflective surfaces of metal, mirrors and glass reflect the camera and the city back onto itself. The constant mechanical rhythm created by the door is countered by the haphazard rhythms of the city outside. This highly-trafficked space sits at the threshold of the building, and evokes broader questions about the interdependent relationship between individual architectural sites and the surrounding city.
Located on a balcony adjacent to the offices, Nothing to Retain, by Julia Weissenberg, is a two-channel video that slowly explores a temporary reconstruction of a building designed by Mies van der Rohe, but never built. In the 1930s Mies designed a club house for the new home-based golf club in Krefeld, Germany. Due to the world economic crisis, it was never built. In 2013 an accessible, temporary architectural model of his conceptual design in 1:1 scale was constructed at the originally planned location- today a typical agricultural landscape. The model, built of wood- instead of concrete, was open to the public from May to October 2013.
The play in this video work, between permanence and impermanence, is particularly relevant to Total House, and its current status as a locus for debates surrounding architectural heritage; between those who argue for its preservation and heritage significance and those who see it as a potential site for new development.
Weissenberg’s work complemented the works of Amie Siegel and Victor Burgin, simultaneously on view at Screen Space, whose exhibitions explore the connections between modernist architecture and contemporary media technology.
With thanks to Michael Trudgeon of Crowd Productions, and Shelley Roberts, of Shelley Roberts Architects, for kindly hosting the event in their studios and to Deborah Stahle, founder of Nite Art.