Opera Aperta

From Future Shock to Future Proof





Open Work.

Umberto Eco’s notion of “The Open Work” is an attempt to understand modern artworks which can be rendered open by their author, and further completed by the performer, viewer,  reader or audience. This notion legitimates the variety of interpretations one work may give us.


ACT 1 _The Industrial Archaeology of the Fishermen’s Bend site
Space, Aesthetics, Materiality + The Performance of Industrial Form

ACT 2 _ Technical Lands + Automated Landscapes
Plagued by industrialization and modernity – Exploring sites that are inaccessible and somewhat invisible

ACT 3 _ Research Assemblages + The Composition of Architectural Ideas
Kerstin Thompson Architects at Fisherman’s Bend – Wind Machines, Wave Machines and Energy Centres

ACT 4 _ Operatic Landscapes: Climate, Ecology + Environment
Exploring the history of opera punctuated by animated landscapes

ACT 5 _ Simultaneously Space & Event
A Rehearsal for an Uncertain Future (The Event)

The Studio sets out to make proposals for the future of a post-industrial landscape and its associated infrastructure(s) – environmental, physical + social. The existing ensemble of industrial ruins and the broader ecology of the Fisherman’s Bend precinct set the scene for ‘The Project’ and ‘The Event’. The aim of the studio is to reclaim the future of Fisherman’s Bend through a design studio model that explores the concept of ‘performance’, in relation to the discipline of architecture and set within an ecological paradigm – Creating alternative futures and future pasts, designing new relationships with historic and contemporary contexts. The studio is as such a rehearsal space for the future of the city and its citizens – the projects’, become a rehearsal for a future we cant quite predict, “it is about the process of change, and how we adapt to it. It is about the future and the shock that its arrival brings” (Future Shock 1970). Opera Aperta at Fisherman’s Bend will be a space for and of production – it is a rehearsal space for crossover artists, crossover researchers and where academic research, cultural production, practice and people crossover and collide. It is a space where the debri and the dust of General Motors Holden might collide with a new industrial-scale wind tunnel and Opera. This will be an architectural project inscribed in the monumental ensemble of GM Holden and a radical orchestration of parts known and unkown. 

Open Work Studio allows students to pursue independent design thesis projects on common ground (at Fisherman’s Bend ) and through shared interests in defining the concept of ‘performance’ in relation to the discipline of architecture. Students are invited to explore themes around: industrial form, landscape futures, contamination, restoration, repair, automation, assemblage, hybrids, incompleteness, architecture as event, preservation versus progress, archaeology, open form, open aesthetics and the open city amongst other relevant challenges. Collectively, the design studio will explore the concept of ‘performance’ set within an ecological paradigm    this will be tested through the mediation of Opera as an art form and a post industrial landscape in a state of flux. The intriguing qualities of these seemingly disparate worlds invite alternative futures. Opera Aperta will celebrate individual and collective creativity (making architecture) in partnership with a group of cultural collaborators (Victorian Opera / Melbourne Theatre Company / The Cultural Commons / A New Normal / NGV / Kerstin Thompson Architects). The “dust” and “debri” of production in car manufacturing around the world today offers an original viewpoint from which to explore a new relationship between production, architecture, landscpae and the city. Students become collaborators in the rehearsal and reimagining of the ruins of an industrial past – constructing and reconstructing the parts Known and unKnown.


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