curtin lecture

I was invited to talk at a recent architecture lecture to Curtin students about creative mapping and the future of Perth. Elizabeth Karol contacted me after seeing my recent exhibition New Perth promoted in a newspaper and was interested in how I was addressing the current disengagement that many citizens felt with the city.

I had to look up what creative mapping is, but when I did, realised that a lot of the work that I do and am interested in comes under this sort of practice. My work is hugely influenced by video games and comics, both of which rely incredibly heavily on the fabrication of believable environments, both cultural and environmental as well as the development of narrative. You have to be able to sell a world to someone, make them believe in it, want to visit it, enjoy it and invest in it as much as they can.

This is also the challenge facing future planners. How do you create a convincing vision of our future that will make people willing to disassemble their current lives to create this new one? Sacrificing things they might love, things that are comfortable, for a great unknown.

I talked about a lot of things in the lecture. Some of these things include.

  • The struggle of non-architectural societies to maintain their cultural practices once their geographic space becomes occupied by an architectural society.
  • The slow boil, bottom up nature of culture.
  • The Oaxacan teachers movement and how it changed my perception of the relationship between governments and citizens and our responsibilities to culture.
  • The suffering of Perth culture under our resource driven economic booms, both in the past and present.
    The sustainability of cultural practices.
  • What happens when the dominant cultural identity in your home land is not one that you identify with.
  • The difficulty that the general public has in identifying the value of cultural practitioners when they often operate outside of traditional economic models and earn below minimum wage.
  • The problems with the current lane way projects in Perth.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed giving the lecture and the lively discussion that took place after my talk. It was my first time talking like this in an educational context, it was mainly worrying because I wasn’t sure if I was making any sense to anyone there. Coming in to the class cold, without attending any of the previously lectures made me concerned that I would come in, talk a lot of left of field, unrelated nonsense and leave everyone shaking their heads. Maybe that’s exactly what happened, but everyone was really nice about it if it did.