Curated by Alexandra Brown
Exhibition dates: 3 May - 14 June 2018
Looking beyond the colonial grid of the Australian city, Finding Country is an ongoing architectural experiment in re-engaging an Aboriginal conceptualisation of Country.
Over the last thirteen years, Brisbane-based architect and Professor of Creative Practice at the University of Sydney, Kevin O’Brien has explored a wide range of architectural processes that consider the emptying of the city in order to reveal Country. Through the Finding Country project in its many forms, O’Brien and his collaborators seek out opportunities to represent the urban environment in pluralistic terms.
This exhibition brings together material from a number of variations of the Finding Country project, viewed collectively as a form of radical practice that exposes and interrogates moments of tension within the current structure of the city.
From one of its earliest iterations as a proposal for the 2006 Venice Architecture Biennale, Finding Country has been drawn, written, taught, exhibited, constructed, presented and performed internationally.
In the early stages of working on the Tin Sheds exhibition, O’Brien handed a hard drive over to Curator Alexandra Brown, containing 13 years of correspondence, notes, drawings, photos and other forms of project documentation.
Throughout the exhibition the contents of each display table were burnt as part of a public performance. The custom-designed tables were then flipped and used as vitrines for the ashes, which then became part of the exhibition. Pre-colonisation, controlled burning was used to manage the land and to encourage new growth. The transformative act of burning is central to the Finding Country project, both as a symbol of regeneration and as part of a need to never let the project become static.
Photos by Jacquie Manning ©2018