Finding Country: Radical Practice: Works by Kevin O’Brien and collaborators, 2005-2017

Alex Brown (Curator)

Research output: Non-textual formCurationOther

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationSydney, NSW, Australia
PublisherThe University of Sydney
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventFinding Country: Radical Practice, Works by Kevin O'Brien and collaborators, 2005-2017 - Tin Sheds Gallery, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 3 May 201814 Jun 2018
https://sydney.edu.au/architecture/about/tin-sheds-gallery/past-exhibitions/finding-country--radical-practice--.html

Cite this

@misc{90917c5e592f438baea6ade6b4742cad,
title = "Finding Country: Radical Practice: Works by Kevin O’Brien and collaborators, 2005-2017",
author = "Alex Brown",
note = "installation, timber tables Research background: The research output involved the exhibition design and curation of the exhibition, 'Finding Country / Radical Practice: Works by Kevin O’Brien and Collaborators, 2005-2017', alongside a public program of discussions and burning events. Production of a detailed catalogue ‘map’ recording the archival material on display. A collaboration between Kevin O’Brien and curator, Alex Brown, the exhibition was developed in an effort to offer a reading of O’Brien’s Finding Country project as a sustained, globally-significant form of radical architectural practice. As such, the intellectual complexity and rigour of the project were communicated by combining more well-known outputs from the project (such as large-scale assemblage drawings) with images and documents that locate and trace some of the broader networks and contexts with which this work has been engaged since its earliest iteration as a proposal for the Australian Pavilion at the 2006 Venice Architecture Biennale. Reproductions of selected digital files and records were distributed across twelve custom made spotted gum timber tables, each highlighting a series of fundamental tensions and provocations generated across the history of the project to date. The walls of the gallery were reserved for the projection of large-scale drawings, films, images and text. Research contribution The exhibition 'Finding Country / Radical Practice' displayed a series of unfolding moments from the Finding Country project as it has been drawn, written, taught, exhibited, constructed and performed over the last twelve years. Rather than presenting the work as a series of discrete objects or outcomes, 'Finding Country/Radical Practice' set out to describe a set of recurring ideas that inform O’Brien’s understanding of architecture and the city at this very moment. Almost all of the physical work on display within 'Finding Country/Radical Practice' was drawn from O’Brien’s digital archive of the project and its key reference points. As well as operating as a record of drawings, built and written works, the archive comprises a diverse set of primers, experiments, studies, events, exchanges, ideas, designs and structures that fundamentally challenge the way we look at the architecture and the city. Research significance: As a complex whole, 'Finding Country' mounts a significant challenge to architects and architecture through its engagement with an Indigenous conceptualization of Country. O’Brien’s work confronts a series of tensions within the urban environment by privileging the idea of removing or peeling back, as opposed to adding and cladding over. Of course, one does not preclude the other, but more often than not, when the value of architecture is overwhelmingly defined in terms of additive interventions that solve (or, more accurately, only appear to solve) a set of design problems, we tacitly accept the conditions of our broader context as neutral. In this respect, 'Finding Country / Radical Practice' was conceived not as a static installation, but as a continually changing experience. In deference to the burning processes that O’Brien has developed across his body of work to date, the exhibition made use of fire to activate this change. At four points throughout the life of the exhibition, material from selected tables was collected and placed on the central gathering table, before being burned by O’Brien at the entrance to the Gallery. These points also marked the conversion of empty tables into vessels for the display of the remains from such burning events. The exhibition catalogue is a map containing a record of the initial form of the exhibition and what was once there. Within an hour of the opening of 'Finding Country / Radical Practice', the work and the installation began to shift form. The burning of the final pieces on the last day of the exhibition formed the opening of the Indigeneity and Architecture symposium and the launch of the edited volume, Our Voices: Indigeneity and Architecture (2018), at the gathering table within the Gallery space. MDQLTY - V",
year = "2018",
language = "English",
publisher = "The University of Sydney",

}

Brown, A, Finding Country: Radical Practice: Works by Kevin O’Brien and collaborators, 2005-2017, 2018, Curation, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
Finding Country: Radical Practice : Works by Kevin O’Brien and collaborators, 2005-2017. Brown, Alex (Curator). 2018. Sydney, NSW, Australia : The University of SydneyEvent: Finding Country: Radical Practice, Works by Kevin O'Brien and collaborators, 2005-2017, Tin Sheds Gallery, Sydney, Australia.

Research output: Non-textual formCurationOther

TY - ADVS

T1 - Finding Country: Radical Practice

T2 - Works by Kevin O’Brien and collaborators, 2005-2017

A2 - Brown, Alex

N1 - installation, timber tables Research background: The research output involved the exhibition design and curation of the exhibition, 'Finding Country / Radical Practice: Works by Kevin O’Brien and Collaborators, 2005-2017', alongside a public program of discussions and burning events. Production of a detailed catalogue ‘map’ recording the archival material on display. A collaboration between Kevin O’Brien and curator, Alex Brown, the exhibition was developed in an effort to offer a reading of O’Brien’s Finding Country project as a sustained, globally-significant form of radical architectural practice. As such, the intellectual complexity and rigour of the project were communicated by combining more well-known outputs from the project (such as large-scale assemblage drawings) with images and documents that locate and trace some of the broader networks and contexts with which this work has been engaged since its earliest iteration as a proposal for the Australian Pavilion at the 2006 Venice Architecture Biennale. Reproductions of selected digital files and records were distributed across twelve custom made spotted gum timber tables, each highlighting a series of fundamental tensions and provocations generated across the history of the project to date. The walls of the gallery were reserved for the projection of large-scale drawings, films, images and text. Research contribution The exhibition 'Finding Country / Radical Practice' displayed a series of unfolding moments from the Finding Country project as it has been drawn, written, taught, exhibited, constructed and performed over the last twelve years. Rather than presenting the work as a series of discrete objects or outcomes, 'Finding Country/Radical Practice' set out to describe a set of recurring ideas that inform O’Brien’s understanding of architecture and the city at this very moment. Almost all of the physical work on display within 'Finding Country/Radical Practice' was drawn from O’Brien’s digital archive of the project and its key reference points. As well as operating as a record of drawings, built and written works, the archive comprises a diverse set of primers, experiments, studies, events, exchanges, ideas, designs and structures that fundamentally challenge the way we look at the architecture and the city. Research significance: As a complex whole, 'Finding Country' mounts a significant challenge to architects and architecture through its engagement with an Indigenous conceptualization of Country. O’Brien’s work confronts a series of tensions within the urban environment by privileging the idea of removing or peeling back, as opposed to adding and cladding over. Of course, one does not preclude the other, but more often than not, when the value of architecture is overwhelmingly defined in terms of additive interventions that solve (or, more accurately, only appear to solve) a set of design problems, we tacitly accept the conditions of our broader context as neutral. In this respect, 'Finding Country / Radical Practice' was conceived not as a static installation, but as a continually changing experience. In deference to the burning processes that O’Brien has developed across his body of work to date, the exhibition made use of fire to activate this change. At four points throughout the life of the exhibition, material from selected tables was collected and placed on the central gathering table, before being burned by O’Brien at the entrance to the Gallery. These points also marked the conversion of empty tables into vessels for the display of the remains from such burning events. The exhibition catalogue is a map containing a record of the initial form of the exhibition and what was once there. Within an hour of the opening of 'Finding Country / Radical Practice', the work and the installation began to shift form. The burning of the final pieces on the last day of the exhibition formed the opening of the Indigeneity and Architecture symposium and the launch of the edited volume, Our Voices: Indigeneity and Architecture (2018), at the gathering table within the Gallery space. MDQLTY - V

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

M3 - Curation

PB - The University of Sydney

CY - Sydney, NSW, Australia

ER -