Art

Jul 5, 2017

Koulla Roussos on the dead heart of a fake city: the empty shops of Darwin CBD

Darwin is so far removed from this ideal it is the quintessential post historical frontier town masquerading as a fake city, the ugly city where the overwhelming ethos is one of indifférence, where the spectacle of private opulence thinly camouflages public squalor, squander and neglect.

Bob Gosford — Likes birds and people, not necessarily in that order.

Bob Gosford

Likes birds and people, not necessarily in that order.

[caption id="attachment_14441" align="aligncenter" width="1080"] Empty Two-dollar shop, Darwin City Mall[/caption]

This is a guest post by Darwin arts curator and criminal barrister Koulla Roussos.

Many friends have recently asked me why I am posting photographs of empty buildings in Darwin. It took me a little while to think and compose my response. Here it is. The lessons of the Renaissance in history is one I often think about when reflecting on my city. One of the lessons generally is that legacy left behind when the wealthy, architects, artists and philosophers came together to rescue  beauty, truth and wisdom from the dark ages of history and actively sought to shape their present and future with the public good in mind. Citizens turned to philosophy to nurture the beautiful and the good. [caption id="attachment_14442" align="aligncenter" width="508"] Empty Corner Shop, Mitchell Street, Darwin[/caption] Darwin is so far removed from that urban renaissance ideal. Darwin is just the right size to get a global perspective on the zeitgeist cannibalising our time. [caption id="attachment_14443" align="aligncenter" width="508"] Empty Darwin Community Legal Service offices[/caption] During the renaissance powerful individuals believed that cities should be the focus promoting the good and commissioned lasting inspiring edifices- buildings, public squares, gardens and art works to adorn them. I take photographs of these empty Darwin buildings to highlight the absence of the public good ideal shaping our city. I compose around the renaissance concept of perspective to highlight that successful urbanism is not an accident. [caption id="attachment_14444" align="aligncenter" width="508"] Empty NAB Bank, Mitchell Street, Darwin[/caption] We are shaped by the buildings around us. It is not chance that makes a city look good. Darwin is so far removed from this ideal it is the quintessential post historical frontier town masquerading as a fake city, the ugly city where the overwhelming ethos is one of indifférence, where the spectacle of private opulence thinly camouflages public squalor, squander and neglect. Darwin is an excellent metaphor for the state of belligerency shaping our time.

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2 comments

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2 thoughts on “Koulla Roussos on the dead heart of a fake city: the empty shops of Darwin CBD

  1. Puff, the Magic Dragon.

    Interesting.

  2. ggm

    The boulevard of broken dreams

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