Still & Silent, Still & Loud
This series of photographs is a visual document of my house in Bendigo, not long after I had first moved there.
My home is a modest miner’s cottage built around the 1870’s. The integrity of the original structure is in place although it is showing clear signs of age and decay. While the house hadn't benefited from any major renovation, there was evidence of superficial decorative changes. These attempts at restyling and modernisation can be dated roughly to the turn of the century, the 1950’s and again in the 1970’s. My house exists as an architectural mutation, a mongrel born out of the ideals and stylistic manifestations of its many occupants. The yard is oddly shaped as a consequence of sub division and the garden is a living example of the changing fashion in suburban landscaping. A disproportionately grand topiary arch divides beds of ornamental shrubs and frames the entrance to the house. Deciduous foliage, gnarled almond trees, and a fenced vegetable patch provide clues as to the origin of the early inhabitants of the house and to their economic status. It is a working class house built with modest materials, which has been rendered a home with the cheap decorative trim of the day. The decorative motifs inside the house often imitate the natural world so the interior is rich with juxtaposing surfaces of wallpaper, paint and fake wood panelling. These manufactured surfaces simultaneously celebrate mass production while mourning a pre-industrial environment. This contradictory expression of fear and desire is fascinating to me, particularly as people predominantly live where someone else has lived, in a house built in another era, constructed from the materials, needs and desires of another time. On to this backdrop, rich with signs of the past I placed my belongings and weave my own narrative into the evolving history of that space. It is this overlapping of material residue that I was interested in photographing.