Australia is a country, from its most recent inception, of immigrants. Sydney is historically the epicentre of this immigration. This studio seeks to design an archive of immigration history, that works towards the preservation and understanding of the diverse cultures of Sydney – through the stories of its individuals. Information is gathered from the public, as opposed to traditional avenues (government, university, historians), then stored, curated and represented.
Students will be asked to design, at a range of different scales, the spaces where the stories are captured, processed and experienced. The storage of data and speed of its retrieval has made huge technical advancements in recent times. Similarly, many local and international artists have experimented with conveying data in compelling ways. The scale at which we experience it can vary, from intimate or communal, interactive or from afar. Students will be asked explore this through a small list of predetermined spaces (sound studio, screening room, exhibition space) and then be asked to introduce a complementary program of their choice (a language or cooking school, cinema, research space).
The site for the studio is Hellenic House, which faces Hyde Park on Elizabeth Street in Sydney. It was initially leased in 1924 by a group of Greek Shopkeepers in the inner city area of Sydney so that they could meet during their leisure hours. In 1926, the Hellenic Club was incorporated and it served to bring future generations of Greek migrants together. Currently the site is leased by a variety of different tenants. Students will be encouraged to take over the site, taking full advantage of the vertical arrangement of spaces to create a archive/museum that is as much about creating content as it is about experiencing it.