domestic occupation 1 2012

A Melbourne City Public Art Grant was awarded to a collective of artists to carry out various works in the disused areas of Flinders Street Station, Melbourne. Each artist gravitated to certain areas to create works, which manifested into a publication and exhibition in October 2012 at Federation Square, Melbourne.

domestic occupation 1 involved the occupation of Room 244, a large room situated on the second level and southern end of Flinders Street Station. The previous usages for this area was for mail sorting, uniform distribution, and also used by the Department of Child Social Welfare. For the previous five years, the room was condemned to a dumping ground for objects past their use by date. Through a series of interventions over a period of one month, research, artifacts and documentation were created and collected.

“James Carey’s project, for instance, has made order out of relative chaos. Carey’s contribution has been to a large room called Room 244, dubbed ‘the naughty room’ by the group because of its former life as office space for social services and their ‘delinquent’ clients. This elegant space has become a dumping ground for obsolete office miscellany, a dishevelled landscape of dented filing cabinets, outmoded uniforms, broken chairs and hundreds of ring-binder folders their contents once meticulously compiled but now languishing in mildewed piles. Working diligently over weeks, Carey sorted the piles of junk to create carefully ordered taxonomies organised within the wooden shelving in one end of the space. Here, one shelf presents items that might be categorised ‘personal grooming’ (hair brush, comb, disposable razor, soap), another ‘lunch room’ (Saxa Salt, toothpicks, Nescafé), and another ‘computer accessories’ (a neat row of now-bung computer mice). Carey has reasserted some order to the junk heap and, by doing so, has paid homage to the past life of these objects and the people that used them. As well as clearing and ordering the space, Carey also set to work cleaning it and using its residue to make ‘drawings’. His ‘dust paintings’, for instance, are large-scale abstract compositions created by dumping the dust vacuumed out of the space onto canvas to create surprisingly monumental compositions.”

Text by Phip Murray

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