AS HOUSING PRICES IN OUR MAJOR CITIES CONTINUE TO CLIMB, THE AUSTRALIAN DREAM OF OWNING A SUBURBAN HOME BECOMES AN EVEN BIGGER MOUNTAIN TO CONQUER. BUT IS IT WORTH THE HIKE?
A new sound-based documentary produced by Barking Wolf in collaboration with visual artist Dan McCabe questions the Australian ideal of home ownership and the history behind Perth’s peculiar housing obsession. Piecing together a range of voices from urban planning experts, to those living without a home, Culturally Peculiar – Suburban Aspirations in Modern Australia foregrounds stories of the human side of housing, opening new conversations around Perth’s urban living
conditions and the future aspirations of its residents.
Culturally Peculiar – Suburban Aspirations in Modern Australia was developed in response to artist Dan McCabe’s Shadows on the hill project, a site-specific relational artwork which appropriates the language and architecture of leisure camping to explore alternative models for metropolitan living.
Originally developed as a part of the 2016 Next Wave Festival Melbourne, McCabe was commissioned by Perth-based arts organisation International Art Space to deliver a new iteration of this project, as a part of the Know Thy Neighbour program.
McCabe utilised his artist-designed tent, camouflaged as a late 80s station wagon, as a starting point to investigate the issues and possibilities of temporary shelters, long-term housing, environmentally conscious alternatives, and future living structures. Occupying Perth City Farm’s
Saturday markets throughout February, McCabe engaged market-goers in discussions around the future of the Australian residential landscape and our place within it.
Alongside Perth City Farm, McCabe talked with the staff and residents at St Bartholemew’s House, an organisation dedicated to eradicating homelessness in Perth, opening the conversation to a community, often unheard in the current housing debate.
“A project that originally started as a camouflaged urban tent transformed to become an opportunity for me to start a discussion about things that have been on my mind: affordable housing, sustainable building practices, how people get around, and how different aspects of your life are dictated by location.”
- Dan McCabe
Documenting and expanding on these interactions and conversations, Culturally Peculiar – Suburban Aspirations in Modern Australia, gathers together various generational, socio-economic and cultural perspectives to chart a history of Perth’s land obsession and the future of urban living; asking how a city like Perth can create the conditions for an inclusive, connected society, where housing security is accessible to all.
“We were land hungry from the beginning. It is a part of our cultural DNA”
- Dr. Shane Grieve, Urban & Regional Planner, Head of Department, Planning & Geography, Curtin University.
Together the projects provide an opportunity to discuss, challenge, contemplate and re-evaluate the way we intend to live in the 21st century.
Curator, Know Thy Neighbour
+ 61 8 9228 2444/ + 61 417 934 204 or Katherine@spaced.org.au