Update #02: The Grand Section's National Exhibition, 'Girthy; with Slim Edges'
The car has only a small oil leak and smells a bit but otherwise all is fabulous!
We have just finished at Theodore which was stop #3 on the Grand Section Journey. We thought now would be a great time to reflect on the past few months, 2 states and a territory! It certainly has been a whirlwind, far more intense than a bike but none the less fantastic to see the country through a new perspective and as always meet and re-meet some incredible people.
Stop 06: Meekatharra
Three Locations (20th - 23rd July) - Made in Meeka, Behind the Local Food Van and Meekatharra District School.
Planning on re-taking over the disused open air cinema in Meekatharra for the Friday night we had to quickly adapt our plans (with the help of some local legends) to set up next to Made in Meeka. The Sunday saw us hanging out behind the local food van that takes the prime spot in the centre of town (same location as our exhibition last year enroute), catching up with locals and showcasing the towns architecture! On Monday we were lucky enough to hang out at the local school speaking with a number of school groups (ages 5-16) about the architecture of Australia. One of the kids excitedly exclaimed "this is the best day ever!" - although we are still unsure if he was referring to the lollipops...
LEARNT - 1. Always prepare for change. Flexible is 'bestlible' 2. Locals know their markets, outside of the food van hours Meekatharra isn’t exactly bustling. Use their hours of business for best effect 3. Kids range from exclamations of “best day ever” to boredem rather quickly
Stop 07: Darwin, NT
Four Locations (2nd - 5th August) - Mindil Marktes, Browns Mart Theatre, Malak Markets, Nightcliff Markets
The tropical top end! The place where a couple of architecture student punks who took a kombi around Australia 40 years ago started a practice that would influence not only us but generations of architects. Before we kicked off we were given a tour of the best archi-bits of Darwin by former NT government architects, Lawrence and Andrea Neild who looked after us (very well) for the time we were in Darwin. With an intro under our belt we hit Mindil Beach Sunset Market, which had thousands of people, entertainers, very loud jets and a stunning sunset with an equally stunning amount of people on a beach! Friday night saw us pop up next to Browns Mart Theatre (largely thanks to the wonderful Katy Moir) for their 'Live on Fridays'. A band, booze, architecture and a perfectly chill vibe saw people coming to the exhibition, cruising back to the other side of the fence for a beer and then coming back for round 2 (or three, or four!!). Saturday afternoon we took over some hot asphalt at Malak Market, a very relaxed community vibe saw locals sauntering down for an evening meal and some architectural hors d'oeuvres. On Sunday, Nightcliff Markets just out of town kicked off early in the morning for fresh produce, food, home crafted goods and some architecture that sort of melted in the sun. It’s fair to say we were not really ready for the Darwin sun (considering we were used to 'winter' conditions), but we think Darwin was pretty open and ready for The Grand Section. Varying conversations from short and uninterested to long and meandering gave us great pleasure to see the diverse mix of Darwinians.
LEARNT - 1. Darwin has the feel of a regional town (a lot like Newcastle); some people want to be left alone to poke through the exhibition and some love being toured through the archi-bits-and-bobs. The skill is to read the person to tailor the experience 2. Tourist markets are not effective for showing the exhibition, too many other competing factors take people’s attention 3. Swallow your architectural pride and get a clearer sign. At uni we were taught that the less signs you need the better the design. We are still figuring out how to design a building that says “architecture (but not the architecture you think you know) exhibition”
Stop 08: Alice, NT
Three Locations (10th- 12th August) - Watch This Space Gallery, Yeperenye Shopping Centre and Todd Mall Markets
YES YES YES!!! The inhabited heart of the country! It was good to be back! An enticing city of 25,000 people, if you haven’t been here, go and stay for a week. We kicked off at the wonderful Watch This Space gallery on the Gap Road for a Friday night launch. The manager/artist/rad chick Zoya made us feel completely at home and it is a testament to the gallery's place in the community as to the turn out and interest we got. Even with very few contacts in Alice we had the tent packed and people asking all sorts of questions. In almost direct contrast, Saturday saw us at Yepereyene which is the local (and Aboriginal owned) shopping center. There is an incredibly diverse client base here and we thought the exhibition could go either way….to our immense relief it was one of our best yet in terms of a variety of engagement. Aboriginal stockmen stood shoulder to shoulder with Anglo-Saxon mums with kids who stole a few minutes to poke through a few boxes before their kids dragged them away. Thanks to Nicole who manages the centre and encouraged us greatly! What a bloody community asset! Sunday morning we were up early for the Todd Mall Market. We competed with the wind and set up our tent.... then took it down before the wind tore it apart (lessons we learnt in Newcastle). This ended up being one of our better displays as people could browse the exhibition without having to enter any structure, which could mean over-committing.
LEARNT - 1. Sometimes no structure is better than structure. People seem to feel less intimated and can engage in a more relaxed way without feeling like they are committing to something 2. Vocal Locals are invaluable as we continue to learn; Thanks to David, Zoya, Mez and the Centralian Advocate
Stop 09: Theodore, QLD
One Location (Sat 18th August) - Hotel Theodore
This was stop #3 on the Grand Section Journey and gee was it a pleasure to come back. We pegged out a half tent on the lawn in front of the only community owned pub in QLD, Hotel Theodore. Locals we met last March turned out to come and see the exhibition along with the plethora of grey nomads and tourists around at this time of year. A very relaxed afternoon with homemade biscuits, cake and tea was the perfect way to spend the afternoon discussing the exhibition, our findings and the town.
LEARNT - 1. A strong community makes organising an event very easy. Big thanks to Monica, Lorraine & Liz for doing all of the hard work for us (including the baking) 2. Regional towns need more effort put into advertising/longer to exhibit as there is less passing traffic and a slower pace 3. Don’t leave a yabby claw in the sun too long, it will start to turn pink
We have a few other venues coming up over the next month as we are begin our home stretch! If you haven't had a chance to check out the exhibition then get your pencil and diary out, mark the dates in and do a doodle!
Stop #10 : Brisbane, QLD
September 13 and 14 (Thurs and Fri) - Queensland University of Technology | Garden's Point Campus | Level 1 concourse | 10am - 4pm daily | Informal talk Friday afternoon
September 15 (Sat) - West End Markets | 8am - 2pm
September 16 (Sun) - Northey Street Organic Markets | 6am - 11am
September 17 (Mon) - Wandering Cooks | 11am - 8pm | talk at 6pm | Tickets via eventbrite HERE (includes drink)
Stop #11 : Singleton, NSW
September 21 (Fri) - TBC
September 22 (Sat) - Singleton Plaza | 10am - 4pm
September 25 (Tues) - Ourcare Aged Services | Bathurst Street | 10.30am - 12pm
Stop #12 : Blackheath, NSW
THE FINALE!! A NIGHT OF TRIVIA AT THE PUB!! October 6th | Ivanhoe Hotel | Afternoon exhibition and trivia from 6pm