Miniature Modernism

This project was undertaken as part of a Kaldor Public Art Project’s “Parlour” evening. An event adjunct to the Thomas Demand exhibition held at the Commercial Travellers Club in Sydney.

LeeshTagTom was involved through the “N” curation team.

Thomas Demand’s work creates a collapse of cognitive dissonance; the viewer must confront the waning space between presentation and representation, as well as the temporal and the enduring. Conflicting definitions woven seamlessly through the stratum of the choreographed scene.

The CTA building is the setting for Demands exhibition and sits within the complex of the MLC building in Martin Place. The podium and arcade are typical of Seidler’s work using a matrix of primary volumes and radial curves to create an elastic series of free-flowing spaces. Positioned on the boundary between the arcade and neighboring Martin Place, the CTA building acts as one of the rare termination points in Seidler’s free plan; the hotel rooms above sit in the vacuum of Martin Place while the Association parlor rooms are embedded in the earth beneath it. It is these spaces which is have offered themselves as a shell for the décor of the CTA.

The parlor rooms speak a bi-lingual rhetoric. The guild décor, describing collectivism, establishment and providence, is superimposed as a second internal skin upon Seidler’s modernist building. While the two languages remain discordant they differ from the work of Demand in that the varying space between the separate identities offers a cognitive stability.

Inspired by Thomas Demand, this project work will investigate a new meeting point between the embryonic layers of the CTA building. The performance/public workshop will aim to provide a bistro dinner as an agent to allow the re-emergence of Seidler’s greater vision within the CTA. Employing a variety dinner menus with folding instructions, both the napkins and tablecloth will be transformed into an accurate topographic model of Sydney; displaying scaled replicas of Seidler’s interventions and implying his greater ideology. Seidler’s distinct geometry will infect the association’s décor through dining decorum; creating a space that is at once both a presentation of a parlor bistro and a representation of urban vision.

The paper folding instructions used in this work will be available for download shortly.