Melbourne City Square As Void

Notes from outdoor/onsite talk for the lecture series THE POLITICS OF PUBLIC SPACE, Office, Melbourne, 2020
(c. 1926)

1. Before The City Square

a. Beaux-Arts Melbourne
b. Colonial postmodern facades

(c. 1967)

2. Creating The City Square

a. Desiring culture
b. The garden in the desert

(c. 1970)

3. The City Square as Civic Void

a. Nowheresville at lunchtime
b. Corralling people like parking
c. Open space as fallow undeveloped land

(c. 1979-1980)

4. The City Square as Broadcast Hole

a. The non-event of 'public television' for Melbourne
b. The start of the death of 'free-to-air'
c. The talisman of anti-intellectualism: The Yellow Peril

(c. 1985-1988)

5. The City Square as Public Toilet

a. The grand glass arcade of bird-shat perspex
b. Inside-outside-inside shopping mall fountains
c. The battle between urine and chlorine in public space

(c. 1996-2000) (c.2011-2017)

6. The City Square as Sold

a. The Westin Hotel as Excel Spreadsheet of profit
b. The Westin Hotel as architectural erasure
c. Brunetti's as a box of wog in town

(c. 2000-2007)

7. The City Square as Living Drought

a. The ocular folly of the Mockridge Fountain
b. A message-wall for 'the people'
c. Traumatizing 'the people' by flaunting water during drought times

(c. 2017)

8. The City Square as Construction Zone

a. People love looking at holes
b. Nothing is better than anything
c. Open heart surgery for Melbourne Public Transport

(c. 2018)

9. The City Square as Cultural Facade

a. Reproducing MoMA at the NGV via the City Square
b. Promoting the image of culture
c. The reality of 'earth art'


Text © Philip Brophy. Images © respective copyright holders.