#VACANT Geelong | Iconic Industry

Bindi Cole Chocka
Sarah Duyshart
Alex Hamilton
Merinda Kelly
Robert Mihajlovski
Amanda Shone
Curated by
Cameron Bishop

The decline of industrial towns is a global and regional phenomenon. Communities perceive the departure of industry negatively and their closures have resulted in deterioration of site, the demolition of vacant buildings, or their expedient replacement. A group of architects and creative practitioners from Deakin University ask: What do industrial buildings contribute to a city like Geelong? What is the value of industrial architecture once its original function is removed from the equation? Through creative practice Associate Professor Mirjana Lozanovska, Dr David Beynon, Ciro Marquez, Dr Diego Fullaondo, Dr Annie Wilson and Dr Cameron Bishop have worked in a number of different ways to recover and activate the industrial architecture of Geelong, and importantly, work with the communities that grew out of the city's 20th century industrial boom.

Cameron Bishop has worked as curatorial lead in key events on the project including the Open Studio in Nth Geelong and in a major exhibition at the National Wool Museum, Iconic Industry. This project provides a creative exploration of Geelong’s industrial identity, and a collaborative interface between architecture, art and community. Its intent is to focus artistic processes on the re-activation of memory and erasure as an interval or pause in the current challenges to industry. Through the work of several commissioned artists, community engagement, and the team of researchers the project has been generously supported at different stages by the National Wool Museum, City of Greater Geelong, Creative Victoria, Geelong Gallery and others further outcomes and events have included a catalogue, journal articles, Geelong After Dark, Mountain to Mouth and White Night collaborative projections and performances and an SBS Television feature.

A major element of the project is its immersive quality, particular to Geelong. For example, from March, 2017, for three months, commissioned artists used an old, vacant space (the Open Studio) in North Geelong to research the industrial sites, and work with the community. In this way the project aims to capture a significant pivotal moment between Geelong’s history and its futures, confronting the negative perceptions of the de- industrialisation of this resilient city. It builds on the histories, practices and aesthetics evident in Geelong’s industrial buildings to give voice to the communities they have helped foster.

Images: Amanda Shone (ceiling); Sarah Duyshart; Amanda Shone intervention. Photos: Cameron Bishop