Finding Country is an ongoing project initiated by architect Kevin O’Brien in 2006 and continuing as a pluralist contest between the idea of Aboriginal space (Country), and European space (property) in Australia. Aboriginal Country is excluded from the Australian city and even more so in the derivative architecture. Despite the 1992 landmark Mabo case High Court decision, a decision that struck down the doctrine of Terra Nullius (an empty land belonging to no-one), architecture in Australia continues its 18th century European tradition of drawing on empty paper. The Finding Country position is that this paper is not empty, but is full of what can’t be seen.
The workshop is focused on ways to empty the City in order to reveal a practical idea about Country. Drawing and sculpture will be the modes of inquiry. Individual works will be assembled into one collective conceptual sculptural mapping of ideas about the ongoing tension between City and Country. Since its beginnings the Finding Country project has endeavoured to find an Aboriginal origin for architecture in Australia through exhibitions, built projects, writings and studios. This workshop is part of that ongoing process.
Kevin O’Brien is Professor of Design at Queensland University of Technology and a practicing architect. In 2006 he established Kevin O’Brien Architects (KOA) in Brisbane and has completed architectural projects throughout Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and the Northern Territory. In 2012 he directed the Finding Country Exhibition as an official Collateral Event of the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice.
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