“There can be few other nations less certain than Australia as to what they are and where they are.” —Robin Boyd
Robin Boyd (1919-1971) was an architect and outspoken public intellectual. In his book ‘The Australian Ugliness’ (1960) Boyd criticised what he saw as the aesthetic and ethical gap in the national identity.
THE AUSTRALIAN UGLINESS (TAU) seeks to extend Boyd’s critical enquiry into the 21st century, featuring iconic Australian buildings such as RMIT’s Storey Hall in Melbourne, Sydney’s Sirius Building, the National Museum of Australia in Canberra and Boyd’s Walsh Street. This architecture forms the conceptual and physical backdrop for ‘The Ambassador’, Eugenia Lim’s gold-suited performance persona.
Devised and led by a second-generation Asian Australian female artist–filmmaker, TAU reflects a different Australia – one that is multicultural and performative. With depth, rigour, intelligence and wit, TAU explores ambiguity and diversity to encourage wider, more robust dialogue on the plural nature of our national identity.
TAU therefore seeks to challenge existing tropes and stereotypes of national identity by representing a female, performative, Asian and artistic perspective on Australian architecture, culture and identity.
Twenty-minutes’ in duration, TAU will loop in colour across three screens in a custom-designed architectural installation created in collaboration with Melbourne architects WOWOWA. A textural score by Dan West will accompany the work in surround sound. Visually, Tim Hillier’s cinematography will evoke the comedy of Jacques Tati’s ‘Playtime’ (1967) to consider the human experience of the built environment.
More than 20 major iconic Australian architectural sites are set to be featured in the work with a free public program of talks, an archi-walking tour, print publication and interactive online presence to further engage the wider public.
The work will be filmed across Australia for two weeks starting in late-November 2017. We hope to raise $30,000 for the installation design, construction and production of exhibition materials for TAU’s month-long presentation in the prestigious Dulux Gallery, Melbourne School of Design.
In 2017, over 80,000 visitors attended Open House Melbourne who will present TAU as a keynote event of the 2018 season.
Presented by Open House Melbourne
Supported by the Australia Council for the Arts, City of Melbourne, the Robin Boyd Foundation and the Melbourne School of Design