Reflections on the ‘People’ Student Congress 2015
Clever facadism, interiority complex and urban magnetism
A new exhibition in Melbourne aims to explore the relationship between famous ‘star-architects’ and tourist culture through a series of souvenir displays.
Artist and curator Amelyn Ng explains that mass market monetisation has led to today's great design minds being superficially represented in the public domain. Taking the Pritzker Prize award system as its point of departure, the exhibition, Starchitect Souvenirs examines the relationship between famous ‘star-architects’ and tourist culture, and the (mis)translation of innovative design intent into oversimplified consumer content.
The exhibition is presented as a series of souvenir displays including mugs, t-shirts, postcards and other novelty items on sale, to convey the same dilemma of popularisation faced by the architects they represent. Caught in the clash between genuine cultural production and blatant tourist appeal, the shamelessly marketable manifestation of each ‘bespoke’ object undermines its own cultural value.
Through this exhibition, Ng raises several questions: When did respected legends of the architectural craft become profitable trends? Has nouveau become novelty? Are we cultural tourists buying into the architecture-as-attraction phenomena, perhaps even unwitting accomplices in the devaluation of architectural practice?
Ng is a Melbourne-based researcher-designer of architecture and urbanism, with a particular interest in critical practice and consumer behaviours. A self-professed flâneur and avid writer whose work has recently been published in various architecture media, Amelyn hopes her work will continue to spark discussion and enable reflection beyond the bounds of traditional practice.
Exhibition Opening: Thursday November 12 at 7pm
Location: Loop Project Space & Bar, 23 Meyers Place, Melbourne
Exhibition Period: November 10 to December 10, 2015 during Loop Bar opening hours