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 weaved seamlessly through the stratum of the choreographed scene.
The CTA building is the setting for Demand's upcoming 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 sweeping curves to create an elastic series of free-flowing spaces. Positioned on the boundary between the arcade and neighbouring 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 parlour 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 parlour 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 workshop will investigate a new meeting point between the embryonic layers of the CTA building. The work aims to provide a bistro dinner as an agent to allow the re-emergence of Seidler’s greater vision within the CTA. Employing a set menu tailored to specific group sizes as well as paper folding instructions, diners are asked to transform the parlour table setting into a topographic model of Sydney and the Eastern Suburbs 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 parlour bistro and a representation of urban vision.
All photos by Ben Chadbond
This project was realised as part of the 'Parlour' shows accompanying the Thomas Demand exhibition organized by Kaldor Public Art Projects.