Jorge Otero Pailos (US)
Tina Havelock Stevens (AU)
Elvis Richardson (AU)
Daniela Ortiz and Xose Quiroga(ES)
Curated by Zanny Begg and Jennifer Ferng

15th March – 31st May, 2013

Opening Thursday March 14th, 6-8pm

Guest Speaker: Professor Craig Bremner (Professor of Design at Charles Sturt University)

“Do not let us talk then of restoration. The thing is a lie from beginning to end.” John Ruskin, “The Lamp of Memory”, The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849).

On March 14 a new exhibition Dirt, Dust and Ruins opens at Tin Sheds Gallery. The exhibition brings together an exciting combination of artists whose work engages with the dirt, dust and ruins of contemporary cities.

Jorge Otero Pailos


The Ethics of Dust: Doge’s Palace, Venice, 2009

Jorge Otero-Pailos’ installation The Ethics of Dust: Carthago Nova, 2011 provides a contextual starting point for the series of works in Dirt, Dust and Ruins. He presents nine latex casts of dust from a mine in the ancient Roman silver mining region of Carthago Nova, now Spain. This region was significant for producing the wealth and currency that drove an empire and also created some of the first atmospheric pollution that has been detected in core samples from Greenland.

Otero-Pailos’ work invites us to reflect on the role that pollution plays in the functioning of empires, as well as in their legacy, for pollution can be as long lasting as the grandest cities and monuments. While Otero-Pailos cleans away residues of pollution, he also preserves it, treating it as part of the history of the buildings. Influential in Otero-Pailos work is John Ruskin, for whom dust formed “time-stains” that provided an essential way of understanding the historical value of the buildings that make up the city.

Daniela Ortiz & Xosé Quiroga


1st of May Mining Camp, Private Property of VOLCON Mining Company Ceru de Pasco, Peru, 2011

1st of May Camp is a photographic documentation of an intervention carried out in a mining town built for workers in the Volcán operated mine at Cerro de Pasco. Cerro de Pasco exists along the edge of an open cut mine that has been continuously operating for over 445 years. The “time-stains” here are so toxic it has been suggested that the entire town be re-located 35kms down the road to spare the residents a life fractured by explosions and pollution.

Ortiz and Quiroga counter pose the architecture of the miners’ houses with that of the mining companies executives, in a series of oversized paste-ups on the side of the workers homes. The surreal counter perspectives they create open up alternative possibilities for understanding the geography of the town. While the camp is hardly a city, Ortiz and Quiroga’s images create a direct link between these outposts and the living conditions of the wealthy inhabitants of major cities.

Elvis Richardson


National Housing Search <$250K, digital slide show, 2012

Elvis Richardson’s latest project National Housing Search <250K is a photographic research project that considers how contemporary housing anxiety in Australia effects Australian artists and other low income earners.  Cities are where artists congregate creating social capital and scaffolding ideas of “lifestyle”. The work acts as a means to survey concepts of lifestyle through the pictorial genre of interiors and its portrait of domesticity and the everyday.  In the under $250,000 price bracket photographs of property for sale depict a modest reality rich with evidence of individual lives.  Poetic beauty is trapped in the photographic compositions of a floral carpeted room empty but for a chair sitting in the corner glinting in a shaft of light or a bedroom adorned with soft toys, or a collection of family portraits oddly scattered on a wall. Ill considered photographs of corners, dark rooms, left behind furniture, are an unintentional forensic snapshot. Looking at these lived in scenarios is like walking in someone else’s shoes.

Tina Havelock Stevens


Drum Detritus Detroit, 2013

Tina Havelock Stevens offers a very different ways of looking at “time-stains.”  Detroit is a city whose fortunes have shifted markedly overtime, once an architectural gem of the automobile industry today the city is half derelict, populated by scrappers and a new class of urban hipsters looking for affordable places to pursue their lifestyle. The collapse of cities, such as Detroit, offers a warning on the transient nature of urban landscapes. “White Drummer Detroit” is an observational portrait of this urban decay. Tina Havelock Stevens creates a traveling performance at the punishing pace of eleven locations in Detroit in a day: from abandoned motor factory floors to burned out storefronts, buildings engulfed by nature’s overgrowth, a grassy field in the shadow of a smelt, to the very steps of historic Motown Records. The energy of these performances belies the potent history layered within such a ruinous urban landscape.

Curated by Zanny Begg and Jennifer Ferng

For more information on the exhibiting artists – please click on links below

Elvis Richardson / Tina Havelock Stevens / Jorge Otero-Pailos / Daniela Ortiz Xosé Quiroga

Dirt, Dust and Ruins is the part of Emergen/city a series of four interlinking exhibitions that explore various ways in which we can approach life in the city. The overarching title invites a variety of readings – it can be read as a reference to emergence theory and the manner in which individual interactions contribute to an understanding of complex systems, or, as a reference to how urban environments emerge, shaped and continually reshaped by it inhabitants. Spoken phonetically the title also evokes the ecological emergency that confronts life in our cities. The project will involve a range of curated exhibitions, symposiums, publications, lectures and performances that explore the problematic of life in contemporary cities: http://www.emergencity.net.


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