...and the Gods made Blue
From the 30th of July 2009. 18 Henty Street, Brunswick, Melbourne, Australia.
'...and the Gods made Blue' was a Guerrila Art Installation/Alien Happening. The project remained for 6 months until the house was demolished.
In an abandoned Brunswick home; solid blue painted blocks representing
space and light intruded from every window penetrating through every
wall creating a labyrinth of imploding solidified light.
The project was initially promoted with one text message stating
'…the house. It's consumed in blue… Intrusions…
Don't tell the authorities,
We don't want another fucken Roswell. Bring a torch.
Watch your step.
From 7pm, 18 Henty St, Brunswick
Text from Un Magazine 3.2 2009
What’s he Building in there? A Manipulated Cosmic Occurrence.
… and the Gods made Blue is a renegade installation in an abandoned Brunswick home constructed over a six month period in the twilight hours with the aid of a headlamp and a sack of tools. It has seemingly appeared overnight. These texts were written by a selection of authors with assorted relationships to the NZ-born artist Adam Douglass, who encountered the happening at different stages of its construction. An alien situation has emerged, transcendental and apocalyptic at the same time.
Momentarily unfettered by the burdens of use and economic production, ruined buildings constitute voids in an urban fabric subject to ever-increasing regulation and control. They are thus potentially, if fleetingly, productive dystopias in which decay and disuse mobilise against the universalising ‘progress’ of globalisation. It was into one such void that Adam Douglass recently intruded. Douglass’s self-dubbed ‘intrusions’ are long, monochrome canvases that originate in external openings (doors, windows, even toilets) and bisect rooms before crashing into or through the walls, like blocks of solid or negative light flooding in.
Somewhat startlingly, however, this isn’t the grey wintry light of Brunswick but the diffuse blue of sunny Southern California. ‘Malibu Blue’, to be precise, named for the eponymous beach town and mecca of late-1950s and ‘60s American youth culture. The intense colour brings with it a tenor of wistful, utopic naïveté: think Endless Summer, Cosmic Children, The Beach Boys… Yet Malibu Blue® also reveals the flipside of the cultural recall it initiates to be its own inevitable reification and recoding, with consequences that extend far beyond its local origins: think Chevrolet Malibu, Malibu Barbie, Two and a Half Men…
The ambivalent light cast by the intrusions produces a similarly ambivalent spatial experience. While some parts of the house have been obliterated by large expanses of uniform nothingness, elsewhere a cigarette and salt-shaker, or old snapshots and receipts, are foregrounded in the exact places they were left by the owner. The clearly unsettling history of the house is rendered already and increasingly unknowable, but nonetheless insistently particular.
A precarious assemblage is revealed: wistful naïveté checked by alienation; the homogenisation of space checked by the particularity of place; and the amnesia of ‘progress’ checked by lived memories, however compromised these may be. By maintaining this tension inside a ruinous void at the very heart of Brunswick’s radical regentrification, and against the backdrop of an unquantifiable global financial crisis for which there is seemingly zero accountability, Douglass’s installation provides a rare, timely but fugitive place to imagine what our alternatives might be.
Ryan Johnston (art history lecturer, University of Melbourne)
It was 10 ‘o’clock when the banging started again. Fuck it! I’m going to see what’s going on. Lauren rolled over to go back to sleep, and I quietly slipped out of bed. The place next door had been empty for about four months, after Pete had sold it to a developer. It was due to be demolished, but while the application was held up at VCAT it had sunk even further into decay. It was hard to imagine even a homeless person finding it appealing and what sort of homeless person starts a bloody midnight Renovation Rescue? The banging began weeks ago, 11pm until about 2am. Having a smoke and a beer after a double shift, I’d ponder what on earth would make that kind of noise —someone pulling the copper pipes out? Three weeks later, Lauren was making a convincing case for calling the police.
The beers I had earlier must have added to my bravado because, without thinking, I put on my black jacket and a beanie, and grabbed a big stick from the front yard. I snuck quietly down the side of no. 18, seeking cover within a tall fuchsia shrub, while I contemplated my next move. There was no banging just the sound of metal scraping on concrete, and someone moving towards me. Suddenly my stick didn’t seem so big.