Amber Bessell-Browne, The Maintenance of Suburbia [×]
How can interior design connect occupants to past narratives?
The Maintenance of Suburbia explores human interaction in the corporeal, where memory sows into materials, and investigates the exchanges between human and place. Proposing an anarchist interior that supports the connection between people and stories of the past. Located in the Sailors and Soldiers Memorial Hall in Collingwood, the design includes an exhibition of conversation, of narratives unspoken, a means for the past to extend experience. Not only a community archive, this centre is a home for facilitators, changing the way occupation is understood.
Following the bleak outlook of living conditions imposed by the global climate crisis, a change in contemporary occupancy that is facilitated with community practices seems needed, and non-traditional occupancy and anarchy in design provides a shift in perspective.
The Maintenance of Suburbia began through an interest in urban exploration; assimilation into abandonment. The motivation to understand the decay and disuse of contemporary interiors became an evocation for understanding human behaviour and the egocentric patterns of gentrification. By redefining the word ‘abandon’, assessment of site can be made, whilst ensuring unbiased analysis.
The project asks how individuals experience a moment in time they are not privy to. Storytelling as a tool preserves memory. Preservation of structure archives intangible stories and consequently frames interior design as a form of storytelling, as a means for narrative to inform history; moments fossilised in walls.
The activity that occurs in this alternatively occupied interior informs narrative documentation. Individuals visit not only to tell stories but to experience them, immersed in the world of the teller.
Land inequality corrupts community future and weighs the onus of usage with the wealthy minority, however land should be accessible to the public under the conditions that a space is left in a state of neglect; balancing utilisation.
Collingwood’s community connection to ancestral history is permitted through renovation of this suburb, with regeneration of facilitating practices and salvation of abandoned infrastructure; the reanimation of decay. This exhibition is an amalgamation of narrative, performed with an anarchist practice, claiming the site as public land, to be used and not discarded.