Stories

Assemblage

The cultural fabric of cities, covering people and projects across art, architecture, design and cross-pollinated creativity with a focus on local makers and projects through to internationally good ideas.

Carme Pinós: A Social Constellation

For Catalan architect Carme Pinós, form follows social responsibility – beauty is a by-product of an architecture that places people, memory, context and physics first. Pinós's Mediterranean sensibility unfolds in her 2018 MPavilion commission here in Melbourne. She speaks to our editor Jana Perković about how buildings express their structure and architecture as an act of humanity.

Sunyata: The Poetics of Emptiness

Where European architecture starts with the exterior shape of the building, Asian buildings are imagined from the inside out. Curators of the acclaimed Indonesia Pavilion at Venice Biennale 2018, Ary Indra and David Setiadi, elucidate how 'emptiness' is sculpted in Indonesian architecture, one remarkable building at a time.

Paola Balla: Blak Matriarchy

Much of Paola Balla's everyday work involves deconstructing the invisible privilege of whiteness. The Aboriginal artist and curator speaks with Jana Perković about blak matriarchal feminism, and being invited back to curate for a second time at ACCA.

Urbane Künste Ruhr: Art After Coal Mines

Once an industrial hub, Germany's Ruhr region has been forced to change with the global economy. The direction of those changes have been shaped significantly by the public and innovative art organisations like the Urbane Künste Ruhr, writes Manuel Zabel.

Embodying Future Forms: Bhenji Ra

At 23, Bhenji Ra fell in love with the fluid forms of gender expression she found in the Philippines. Eugenia Lim talks to Bhenji about the body as a site of political activism, western notions of gender and the ongoing push for recognition from the wider community.

All The Queens Men: The Poetics of Partying

Many artists dream of the day their art will truly change someone's life. By taking performance out of art venues and into everyday spaces, the folks behind LGBTI Dance Club and The Coming Back Out Ball have done just that.

ZK/U: Workable Utopias

In 2012, a Berlin art collective signed a 40-year peppercorn lease on a disused railway depot in suburban Berlin. Five years later, Centre for Art and Urbanism (ZK/U) has become a recognised hub of urban innovation and social activism. On the eve of ZK/U’s fifth birthday celebrations, Jana Perkovic chats to ZK/U co-founder and director Matthias Einhoff about ZK/U’s past, present and future. 

Marisa Yiu: Prototyping the City

In two years, Marisa Yiu will finally add architecture ‘proper’ to her portfolio, when a built project goes up with her firm among its designers. But, for now, the in-demand architect relishes working beyond built form, in an inventive realm where design advocacy and pedagogy meets the social and cultural development of people and their cities.

Mierle Laderman Ukeles: A Human Being is the Whole World

'After the revolution, who's going to pick up the garbage on Monday morning?', asked artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles in her Manifesto for Maintenance Art 1969! Eugenia Lim converses with the New York City Department of Sanitation's long-time official artist-in-residence about womanhood, motherhood and the social ecologies of our cities.

David Gianotten: Activating Democracy

Traditionally, the architectural pavilion has offered a site for experimentation and the exploration of new ideas. On the eve of the launch of this year's OMA-designed MPavilion, Esther Anatolitis spoke to David Gianotten (Managing Partner-Architect and director of OMA Asia) about designing for democracy and buildings as infrastructures for public debate.

Edition Office: Amplifying the Everyday

With art-grade site 'portraits' and sculptural building models, Edition Office is not your usual architecture office. On the eve of the opening of their new building for Gertrude Contemporary, Eugenia Lim speaks to directors Aaron Roberts and Kim Bridgland.

Nature as Building Material: WORKac

Edible schoolyards, indoor gardens, urban farms, and above all, a gentle sense of playfulness: New York-based WORKac reimagines buildings at the intersection of the urban, the rural and the natural. Elizabeth Campbell speaks with co-founder Dan Wood about architecture in which plants are just one of the building materials, and nature blends into infrastructure.

Helen Wright: Rise and Fall

Tasmanian artist Helen Wright (the artist featured on the cover of our latest print issue!) is concerned with the uneasy coalition between humans and the natural world. Through her paintings, drawings, prints and the cast sculptures we see a playful yet political reminder of the fragile balances of this relationship. Here, she shares with us some of the thinking behind her multidisciplinary practice.

Technological Disobedience: Ernesto Oroza

Cuba's 'Special Period in Time of Peace' – a euphemism for the country's economic crisis in of the 1990s – bred hardship, austere rationing, and a new material culture among citizens. Elliott Mackie speaks with Cuban designer Ernesto Oroza about the phenomenon Oroza describes as 'technological disobedience', highlighting both the ingenuity and sociopolitical and economic forces that have shaped Cuban design.

Sea-change: Penelope Davis

Using jellyfish as a motif to examine consumption, environmental degradation and other critical issues associated with global warming, Penelope Davis's 'Sea-change' considers the future of climate change through the eyes of the ocean. We recently caught up with Penelope to find out about the process behind a work that poetically evokes the symbiosis – at once beautiful and monstrous – between humans and nature.

This is the Future: EXIT

Based on a prompt by French philosopher and urbanist Paul Virilio, EXIT (2008–15) is an experimental 360-degree installation created by Diller Scofidio + Renfro with a team of statisticians, scientists and geographers. Sara Savage speaks with Fondation Cartier curator Thomas Delamarre about working at the intersection of art and data, and about the role of cultural institutions in effecting change.

Spacebusting: Raumlabor Berlin

Berlin-based architecture collective Raumlabor sees the city as a space for investigation, participation and endless possibilities. With much of its early work spanning the realm of temporary interventions, these days Raumlabor is turning its focus towards more enduring urban transformations. Emily Wong chats to co-director Christof Mayer about working at the intersection of art and city-making.

Culture & Capital: Liberate Tate

Liberate Tate is an activist art collective, formed shortly after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, that spent six long years campaigning British cultural institution Tate to drop its oil company funding through a series of nearly 20 unsanctioned performances, interventions and protests. Sara Savage speaks to co-founder Mel Evans about 'Big Oil', ethical sponsorship and the power of performance.

Contested Space: Art and the Right to the City

At the 20th Biennale of Sydney, two works by Keg de Souza and Richard Bell addressed the widespread marginalisation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices in Australia, and those of the country's various migrant populations. Genevieve Murray speaks with the artists about the significance of those works and the ways both artists utilise space to generate conversation around inequality.

A Place of Meaning: Bijoy Jain

Taking place for the third time in 2016, this year's MPavilion comes from the architect Bijoy Jain of Indian architectural practice Studio Mumbai. We met up with Jain at Robin Boyd's Walsh Street House in Melbourne to discuss Jain's characteristic interest in traditional craftsmanship and human connectedness to the landscape, and to find out the story behind his MPavilion design.

New Collectivities: MVRDV

As co-founder of Dutch architectural office MVRDV, Nathalie de Vries has continued to push the organisation in search of a humanist, hybrid approach to creating liveable spaces. Considering the city as inherently constructed, MVRDV's approach remains provocative as it re-imagines our cities moving into the future.

Shigeru Ban: Permanent Impermanent

Over his three-decade career, Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has split his time between high-end commissions and humanitarian architecture for those who have, as he says, an abundance of "power and money", and for others for whom architecture is purely a means to survive. In the recent print issue of Assemble Papers, Eugenia Lim speaks to Ban about the quest for social purpose that drives his work.

Daylighting: D.I.R.T. Studio

Virginia-based landscape architect Julie Bargmann of D.I.R.T. Studio creates places that defy traditional notions of nature and beauty. To her, a landscape represents the intertwining of social and ecological cycles, over time. Emily Wong speaks to Julie about how she uses 'toxic beauty' to transform industrial sites into 21st-century public spaces with a past, present and future.

One of a kind: 1-­OK Club

Almost a year after their first exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, 1-OK Club’s second effort is finally here! We’re proud to be presenting it at the current Assemble Papers HQ, 122 Roseneath St. Opening Friday 1 July, ‘WORKS 44-52’ will see nine designers showcase nine new works both #IRL and digitally. We caught up with Dale and André ahead of the opening.