Stories

Environment

The Rooftop Energy Revolution

According to the United Nations, the global community has until 2030 to change its behaviour before we lock in a disastrous level of warming. This begs the question: why aren’t we using the vast amounts of renewable energy available to us? Ryan Alexander investigates the green energy movement in Australia and how households can effect change.

The Long Way Back: Europe

This summer, architect Vlad Doudakliev shipped his car to Vladivostok, from where he travelled overland across Russia with his dad, all the way to his native Bulgaria. In the second part of his travelogue for Assemble Papers, we follow Vlad as he crosses into Europe.

Shacks: Somewhere to Disappear

From desert landscapes to isolated places, from mountains to jungles, wilderness is somewhere to rest, find refuge; a place of solitude far away from society. Cristina Guerrero documents a series of discovered cabins and other hideouts found around the world.

Kirsha Kaechele: Transcending the Quagmire

Artist Kirsha Kaechele embraces complexity and contradiction that permeates attempts to do good in the world. Her art projects range from gun buyback programs to cleaning up rivers, and do not necessarily look like art to anyone but her. In her new project for Mona, she is proposing to solve the invasive species problem in Australia - by eating them.

The Outer and Inner Landscapes

For the last four years, photographer and dancer Gregory Lorenzutti has been living in Fawkner, a northern suburb of Melbourne that was cattle country right until the 1940s. In the postwar area, the suburb was subdivided for housing for returning servicemen, but most of the houses in the area were built in the period 1950-1970, as detached brick homes for Ford factory workers. After a heartbreak, Greg moved into one of the original Ford houses with a garden, and has given it a new life.

Greening NYC: Piet Oudolf’s New Perennialism

Architect Elliet Spring lived in New York for most of her twenties. On her recent return, she was greeted by a different city: no longer so much a concrete jungle, but a city layered with rich, generous vegetation - from the High Line to The Battery. The turn has been in no small measure the influence of one person, Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf. Here, Elliet looks at Piet's seasonally sensitive, emotionally rich approach to planting, which has spanned a movement: New Perennialism.

Yandell Walton: Social Change, Small and Large 

Yandell Walton is alarmed by climate change. Emma McRae speaks to the Melbourne projection artist whose ephemeral installations probe the impermanence at the very heart of existence.

Janet Laurence: Empathy for Fragile Creatures

Over 30 years, artist Janet Laurence's installations have explored the interconnectedness of all living things: minerals, animals, us. A deeply ecological sensibility permeates her work, which sits between sculpture, architecture and environment. With her first major survey exhibition now on at Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Rafaela Pandolfini visits Janet's studio to talk feminism, gardening and the Anthropocene.

Place & the Afterlife: French & Mottershead

UK artist duo French & Mottershead invite participants to think again about who they are, and their ties to place and one another. Video, performance, photography and sound are woven together to create tangible stories about living in place, borne out of rigorous research. Recently, at Dark Mofo, they gently led us into death. Cat McGauran met with Andrew Mottershead to discuss life & decomposition.

Brooke Holm: Sand Sea

Photographer Brooke Holm shot her new series of works in the Namib Sand Sea, the oldest desert in the world. Seemingly never-ending sand dunes stretch for over 3 million hectares in this UNESCO World Heritage Site, a unique ecosystem that survives mostly on condensation from the fog that rolls in off the coastline every morning. Namibia is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, and the first write climate change policies into their constitution.

Venice: Resisting Resilience

 Some of the highest storms have lately afflicted Venice. Volume editor and architect Francesco Degl’Innocenti reflects on the history of the lagoon, where the concept of dynamic equilibrium has been the cornerstone for the evolution of nature and architecture.

Heirloom Seed Hero

Clive Blazey and his wife Penny were early leaders in protecting heirloom seed varieties from extinction. His story features in The Planthunter: Truth, Beauty, Chaos and Plants by Georgina Reid with photography by Daniel Shipp.