In writing I Spy … Scenes from micro-suburbia, we partly sought to highlight the ways in which domestic or private spaces spill into public, social and community experiences in sububan areas. We commented at the release of the booklet that we would continue to explore our locality and update it with interesting and notable practices and ideas. And we have found a few to share.
In the past, the Brisbane Festival initiated a series of backyard concerts which were offered to suburban householders in a competition. A description of the 2009 concerts and their hosts can be found online. We have also heard from colleagues and friends – inner city residents – who present backyard gigs and open film nights.
Home Art Project
Recently, we learned about the Home Art Project, an international arts project enabling people to make and show art in their own homes in collaboration with leading contemporary artists. From development to presentation, art works were created with low environmental impact. Presented by the City of Melbourne and Tipping Point, the project was centred on Melbourne’s inner city. A similar venture was undertaken in a greenfield development a few years ago. In Home Loan, artists created installation works in various uninhabited residences development.
And, then, last night a facebook friend posted an invitation to an open house style event in a nearby suburb where she will showcase her personal and eclectic collection of ‘treasures’. She is inviting others to join her to share stories about their collecting and hear stories of her collecting adventures. So it’s a mix of open house, exhibition and storytelling.
We suspect our suburbs have always yielded diverse home based experiences and exchanges that convolute the private/public divide. It has given us pause to think about the richness of what is often described as the ‘participatory turn’ or ‘relational turn’ in cultural production and public art. Even though it means being open to the unknown, anyone can curate, host and design experiences and situations in our localities, from our homes and yards. There’s a challenge here that we hope to take up.