Glen Walls. Super Pride (Superstudio – The Continuous Monument, 1969). 2020. Colour mirror tiles, skate wheels & mirror plinth.

Glen Walls. Super Pride (Superstudio – The Continuous Monument, 1969). 2020. Colour mirror tiles, skate wheels & mirror plinth.

Glen Walls. Super Pride (Superstudio – The Continuous Monument, 1969). 2020. Colour mirror tiles, skate wheels & mirror plinth.

Glen Walls. Super Pride (Superstudio – The Continuous Monument, 1969). 2020. Colour mirror tiles, skate wheels & mirror plinth.

Glen Walls. Super Pride (Superstudio – The Continuous Monument, 1969). 2020. Colour mirror tiles, skate wheels & mirror plinth.

Glenn Walls. Safety in Queer Architecture. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe & Lilly Reich – Barcelona Pavilion, 1929.

Digital print. 2020

Glenn Walls. Safety in Queer Architecture. Digital print. 2020

Pink triangle “Queer Spaces” signs were placed by RepoHistory at several NYC locations in the early 1990s to highlight sites of LGBT significance.

Marsha P. Johnson’s Place(s) in NYC’s LGBT History

Glenn Walls. Safety in Queer Architecture. Digital print. 2020

Glen Walls

Glen Walls

Above: Scott Johnson
Finally, some good news, if you could call it that. Link below:
Watch Australian Story on ABC, 31 August 2020, 8pm EST

In November 2018 I held an exhibition at KINGS ARI on the gay/hate murders that took place in Sydney during the 1970s, 80s, 90s and early 2000 called Massacre.

Link to the exhibition:

Glenn Walls. Massacre (after Felix). Digital Print on paper stack, 2018. List of the 88 gay/hate murders that took place during the 1970s, 80s, 90s and early 2000s.

Glenn Walls. Massacre (after Felix). Digital Print on paper stack, 2018

Glenn Walls. Lost Sole (Nike sneaker). Jelutong wood (Hand carved), pencil on paper, Mirror plinth. 2018

Glenn Walls. Massacre (Disco Glare). Baseball bat, mirror tiles. 2018.

Glenn Walls. Massacre (after Felix). Digital Print on 4 x A3 paper stacks. 2018.

Glenn Walls. Massacre (Disco Glare). Baseball bat, mirror tiles. 2018.

Glenn Walls. Massacre (Disco Glare). Baseball bat, mirror tiles. 2018.

Glenn Walls. Image above & below. Massacre (after Felix). Digital Print on 4 x A3 paper stacks. 2018.

Glenn Walls. Massacre (Disco Glare). Baseball bat, mirror tiles. 2018.

Glenn Walls. Image above & below. Massacre (after Felix). Digital Print on 4 x A3 paper stacks. 2018.

Glenn Walls. Massacre (after Felix). Digital Print on paper stack, 2018

Glenn Walls. Massacre (Disco Glare). Baseball bat, mirror tiles. 2018.

Massacre – Opening 30th November 2018

Kings ARI. 171 King St, Melbourne. Exhibition Dates: 1st December – 21st December 2018

For further details Kings ARI

Massacre – Bodies That Matter

Massacre – Bodies That Matter

Massacre – Bodies that Matter

‘Our blood runs in the streets and in the parks and in casualty and in the morgue…. ‘Our own blood, the blood of our brothers and sisters, has been spilt too often….

‘Our blood runs because in this country our political, educational, legal and religious systems actively encourage violence against us…

‘We are gay men and lesbians.’

From the ‘One in Seven’ Manifesto, Sydney Star Observer, 5 April 1991

During the 1970s, 80s & 90s in Sydney, Australia a high number of LGBTIQ people were violently bashed, murdered or disappeared entirely. Although some of these incidents were reported in the gay press and the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board[1] at the time many remained unreported to the authorities[2] due to cultural and societal attitudes with and within the NSW police force and the wider community tolerance of homosexuality. With the advent of AIDS in the 80s, “a significant media and social response of gay alienation within the context of ‘moral panic’ occurred” (Strike Force Parrabell 2018, p. 13).  ‘Beats’ such as toilet blocks, public parks and beaches (Bondi Headlands) where men met other men for sex or social contact became the target of gangs that felt it was their duty to rid and protect the community of such ‘intolerable’ behaviour [3].

By the late 90s, early 2000s with a growing acceptance within the wider community of homosexuality a series of media reports and research papers emerged within the mainstream press highlighting both the injustice caused to the LGBTIQ community and the entrenched homophobia and failure within the NSW police force that allowed a ‘killing and bashing spree” to take place with little repercussion to the perpetrators[4].

In 2018 the NSW Police Force released “Strike Force Parrabell”. Listed are the findings of the review of 88 deaths between 1976 and 2000. During this period “it is clear and beyond question that levels of violence inflicted upon gay men, in particular, were elevated, extreme and often brutal” (Strike Force Parrabell 2018, p. 14). The document acknowledges and highlights the unwillingness and inadequacies of the NSW Police Force, due to entrenched homophobia entwined with perceptions of Australian identity and masculinity, to investigate these crimes fully. However, this does not negate the trauma, anger, frustration and grieving for those left behind. “These people’s lives were taken prematurely and whilst we might consider the individual a victim, in reality, there are many other victims left behind to ask unanswered questions of why” (Strike Force Parrabell 2018).

American PhD candidate Scott Johnston was only 27 when he died. “It was December 10, 1988, when Scott’s naked body was found by two rock fishermen at the base of the cliff, near Blue Fish Point, just south of Manly, on Sydney’s northern beaches. Scott’s clothes had been found neatly folded on the clifftop above” (Kontominas 2017) including his pair of Adidas sneakers. This is shown in the exhibition as a wood carving. The police deemed it a suicide. Three months later, Coroner Derrick Hand came to the same conclusion. His brother Steve Johnson and boyfriend of five years, Michael Noone is still today not convinced that this is the case. All failed to acknowledge that the location was a well know beat where anti-gay gangs operated and where other gay/hate murders had occurred previously.

The main research question addressed in this exhibition is:

Through sculptures, architectural models and digital prints, in what ways can I reconfigure the masculine/heterosexual dominance of Superstudio’s anti-design grid to a personal interpretation of queer space?

My reading and understanding of this grid argues a social, philosophical and identity position in which to interpret my works, giving the audience a greater understanding in the power of things to form a narrative for the object or space. My aim is to think through these processes via practice, critiquing Superstudio’s anti-design grid to produce work that re-evaluates masculine/heterosexual dominance of architectural space by highlighting an injustice done to a minority.

Research contribution

Architecture’s preoccupation with ‘normality’ has left little room for queer domestic space to come to the fore. I argue that ‘the “normality” of heterosexuality is so deeply ingrained in Western culture that it is not even seen’ (Myslik 1996, p. 159). So entrenched is this understanding that I have found little evidence of the public acknowledgement of queer space in the built environment, let alone one highlighting queer injustices. Few artists have broached this subject. I am interested in creating a personal definition of queer space that was not hidden and is a reaction against normative symbols of masculinity and the ‘heterosexual assumption’ presented by Superstudio anti-design grid.

Inspired by Cuban artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres work “Untitled” (Death by Gun), 1990, this exhibition will be based on research conducted on the gay killings that took place in Sydney in the late 1970s till 2000. This was a period of extreme distrust by the LGBTQI community in the NSW Police Force who symmetrically failed to acknowledge, protect, report or simply dismissed community concerns. This will result in a series of works highlighting the high number of victims and the fact that a number of murders are unsolved. Although there is conjecture as to whether some of these murders are a gay/hate crime, the fact that were not properly investigated at the time is a dark stain on our history.

What is Strike Force Parrabell?

On 30 August 2015 Strike Force Parrabell commenced a thorough investigative review to determine whether 88 deaths originally listed in a submission to the Australian Institute of Criminology[5], and commonly referred to by media representatives, could be classified as motivated by bias including gay-hate (Strike Force Parrabell 2018).


[1] While the onset of HIV/AIDS has been seen as 
a motivating factor for some of the violence, the start of the violence predates that. A report by the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board in 1982 already highlighted the issue, and over that decade, there was ongoing and increasing violence. In 1990 the Surry Hills police noted a 34% increase in reports of street bashings during that year alone (Wotherspoon 2017).

[2] The Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby and later, the AIDS Council of NSW (now ACON) kept records, usually comprising self-reported incidents of gay-hate violence, that on several occasions amounted to more than 20 entries per day. Unfortunately, fear associated with anti-gay attitudes of officers within the NSW Police Force at the time prevented these reports being formally recorded, which in turn meant that crimes were not investigated (Strike Force Parrabell 2018, p. 14 & 15)

[3] This inherent lack of consequences or accountability meant that perpetrators were given a kind of ‘social license’ to continue inflicting violence upon members of the gay community. This phenomenon has been associated with what some perpetrators believed was their moral obligation, driven by poor societal expectations. The Bondi incidents together with similar disappearances and deaths of men in and around beats attracted heightened levels of violence and were often associated with a victim’s sexuality or perceived sexuality (Strike Force Parrabell).

[4] During the 1970s, there were ongoing demonstrations in Sydney focusing on what needed to be changed to give homosexuals equal civil rights with their heterosexual counterparts. One of the catchcries of the time was ‘stop police attacks, on gays, women and blacks’. And this catchcry highlights an important fact: that the police were seen as the enemy by many of these emerging social movements. As for gays, the police had 
never been sympathetic to their parading through Sydney’s streets. And this antipathy culminated
in the notorious first Mardi Gras, on the night of Saturday 24 June 1978; it started out as a peaceful march down Oxford Street from Taylor’s Square to Hyde Park, and ended in Kings Cross with police wading into the marchers with their batons, leading to 53 arrests (Wotherspoon 2017).

[5] In 2002, a list of 88 deaths of gay men between 1976 and 2000, potentially motivated by gay hate bias were compiled by Sue Thompson, the then NSW Police Gay and Lesbian consultant. There has been significant media coverage of presumed facts associated with gay hate motivation for each of these 88 deaths.

Reference List

In the Pursuit of Justice. Documenting Gay and Transgender Prejudice Killing in NSW in the Late 20th Century 2017, ACON. viewed 11th November 2018,

Kontominas, B 2017, Scott Johnson: Inside one brother’s 30-year fight to find the truth, ABC News, viewed 11 November 2018

Strike Force Parrabell 2018, New South Wales Police Force. viewed November 11 2018,

Wotherspoon, G 2017, Gay Hate Crimes in New South Wales from the 1970s, viewed 11th November 2018,



Curated by

Review: Glenn Walls     Published in Un Magazine Issue 5.1 – June 2011

The Narrows 2

Les Mason. Installation view, The Narrows. 2010. Photo credit: Tobias Titz

Un Magazine Review link:

Les Mason, an American graphic designer who moved to Melbourne in the early 1960s, spent thirteen years designing, photographing and illustrating Epicurean magazine, Australia’s first magazine devoted to food and wine. In September 2010, contemporary art and design gallery The Narrows exhibited a survey of all seventy-seven covers, the last exhibition in its Flinders Lane location. Exhibited in purpose-built display cabinets, Masons’ covers were presented in chronological order from 1966 to 1979. This retrospective approach highlighted Masons’ employment, over several years, of the signature styles of a variety of twentieth century art movements, to create complex and innovative cover art.

In 1974, an exhibition of Mason’s paintings from Epicurean was held at Realities Gallery in Melbourne. According to Dominic Hofstede, the curator of the exhibition at The Narrows, ‘by placing the ephemeral and marginalised world of magazine graphics within the context of the art gallery Mason had blurred the lines between art and design.’[i] Hofstede continued this practice by exhibiting a small selection of Mason’s 1974 artworks alongside the covers at The Narrows. Each of these artworks had been published, either on the cover of the magazine, or as a spread.

The exhibition highlighted Mason’s most notable reference to the art movements­ of Dada and Surrealism. Mason utilised these movement’s irrational visual juxtapositions for maximum visual impact. In Epicurean 51 October-November 1974, he evoked Salvador Dali’s dream state imagery with a bottle cut in half leaving the top section balanced precariously. A multi-coloured egg replaces the brain on a drawing of a face similar in style to the animation used in the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine film of the late 60s. In Epicurean 71 February-March 1978, Mason continued to incorporate the style of Surrealism. Here, the bottom sections of a bottle are strategically cut away and balanced against sections of a pear and egg. These were the days long before PhotoShop, leaving one to wonder how a bottle such as this could balance. The success of Mason’s Epicurean covers lays in his ability to employ the visual styles of Dada and Surrealism to challenge the general public’s perception of how a magazine cover should look, while still promoting the ideals and products of the magazine.

In later covers, Mason moves through a variety of art movements, such as Arte Povera, spatial art, colour field painting, geometric abstraction, abstraction, pop art and op art, to name a few. Such referencing kept Epicurean fresh and unhindered by a particular corporate style guide that is often applied to well-known publications such as the fashion tome Vogue. As demonstrated in the layout of the exhibition, the overall effect suggests that no two covers are alike. Utilising various font styles for the masthead, Mason was able to inject a sense of playfulness creating an element of intrigue as to the magazine’s content.

The visual effectiveness of the covers indicates that Mason was willing to take risks offered to him by the magazine owner and publisher, Alan Holsworth. In order to produce a magazine that reflected Australia’s developing food and wine industry Holsworth afforded Mason complete creative freedom. With little or no budget, Mason was able to incorporate his many interests in a variety of art and design styles to produce a body of work rarely seen in Australian publishing. A similar comparison can be made to the creative freedom that photographer and creative director Oliviero Toscani enjoyed while at the helm of global clothing brand, Benetton, in the late 1980s and ’90s that resulted in thought provoking and sometimes controversial advertising campaigns.

The exhibition was a rare opportunity to view a comprehensive body of work from an eminent designer. Mason’s covers are landmarks in the development of graphic design both nationally and internationally. Through Epicurean Mason indulged his passion for experimentation and a comprehensive knowledge of twentieth century art styles to formulate what may be considered a defining moment in the evolution of design in this country.

Glenn Walls is an artist, writer and curator based in Melbourne.

[i] Dominic Hofstede, Les Mason’s Playground, exhibition catalogue, The Narrows, Melbourne, 2010, (Accessed 21 March 2011).

Les Mason. Epicurean 44 (August-September 1973). 45 x 45 cms. Acrylic paint

Image courtesy the designer & The Narrows. Photo credit: Tobias Titz

Les Mason. Epicurean 36 (April-May 1972). Magazine cover

Image courtesy the designer & The Narrows. Photo credit: Tobias Titz

AGideas design conference is held each year to inspire students, teachers and designers working in the creative fields of communication design, film, animation, games design, dance, public sculpture, interior design, photography, architecture and a number of other creative industries. Attending the conference was an opportunity to see and listen to a number of creative professionals. Their talks ranged from stimulating to confusing, however for most their visuals were enough to translate a passion to their chosen creative discipline.

A highlight of the conference was French communication designer Fanette Mellier. Although Mellier claimed her English was not good at the beginning of the talk she demonstrated a clear understanding of the nuances of the English language to convey the main points of her practice. Mellier’s father was a printer and it was here that her love of the printed word developed.

Mellier’s practice blurs the line between visual artist and designer. This is a complex area when discussing the validity of design as art. However Mellier navigated through theoretical examples of her practice that explores the power of text (or font) as image. Through the print media Mellier employs text from literature, most notably poems and formulates each letter from a word into geometrical shapes. Colour forms an integral part. At times these works, which appear on the street in the form of posters or as installations in galleries, could be viewed as geometrical abstractions, yet in many examples the text is easy to read.

Mellier use of colour is vital to the integrity of the works. Relying mainly on primary colours Mellier uses their emotive power to form images that seem striking in their simplicity. However as Mellier demonstrated in the work Specimen they are complex in their making. Utilising the process of silk screening enables Mellier to individually alter prints thus removing the mass production element in her work.

FM_Specimen-recto  fanette_mellier

Fenette Mellier

Specimen, 2009 (Left)

Fontenew, 2007 (Right)

Mellier theoretical approach to her practice inspired me to contemplate a means of incorporating some of her ideals into lectures on the meaning of text and how we visualise the written word. Her approach to methods of production and innovative exhibitions will hopefully inspire students to think of ways to approach there own practice and what its means to be a designer in the twenty first century.

Lecturing in design history and contemporary design practice. I am always searching for designers/artists who have a theoretical based practice that they adhere too. Japan’s Ken Miki is such a designer. Miki practice fosters the idea that language through design can be universally understood. Hence design can ‘cross cultural boarders and create shared feelings. He likes to employ emotion in his designs and greatly enjoys incorporating witty tricks, such as skillful visual illusions, into his posters, packaging, building signs and other projects.’[1]

Miki spoke in Japanese, occasionally crossing over into English. Through the use of subtitles it was easy to follow Miki’s argument. Miki design work follows in the tradition of Japanese minimalism. However his work goes beyond the visual by incorporating tactile elements to ‘inspire our five senses like rhythmic lyrics and extend beyond time and dimensions to reveal the possibility of communication with the subconscious’.[2]

Miki is a designer that students can learn a great deal from. His practice reinforces the notion that visual clutter is poor for the mind and soul. His work Money does not make you happy is an exceptional example of his minimalist approach to thinking and practice. These ideals I will be incorporating into a type project next semester.



Ken Miki/Stefan Sagmeister

Money does not make you happy


AGIdeas eclectic mix of presentations over the three days provided some thought provoking ideas. Some reflected on the cynicism within the advertising industry, as Adam Hunt talk demonstrated, whilst most preferred to focus on the power of design to change the way we think and operate. The positive nature of these talks is what design is about. It is also an attitude that needs to be fostered if we are going to keep our students and grow our design courses.


[1] AGIdeas 2011 catalogue

[2] AGIdeas 2011 catalogue

Based in Florence, Superstudio were a group of young Italian architects who came together in 1966 and were disillusioned with the modernist ideal that had dominated design and architectural discourse since the early twentieth century. When Superstudio suggested in the late 1960s that ‘architecture served to indoctrinate society into an irrelevant culture of consumption, and therefore sought to extract out of architecture all encumbered on man’s ability to live a free life’ (Lang and Menking 2003, p. 13), they proposed a series of ‘histograms of architecture with reference to a grid transportable in diverse areas or scales for the edification of a nature both serene and immobile in which we might finally recognize (re-know) ourselves’ (Lang and Menking 2003, p. 19). Superstudio’s theory for the application of the grid to objects and architecture was to subvert the very notion of design. After all, how can you keep contributing to the proliferation of superfluous objects if everything looks the same?

Left: Superstudio The Continuous Monument. Never constructed. 1969–71  
Right: Superstudio. Misura Furniture. 1970

Superstudio saw the grid as a form of anti-design. For them it was about rediscovering oneself. By homogenising the surface, Superstudio claimed ‘every problem of space and every problem of sensibility’ (Lang and Menking 2003, p. 19) had been removed. I saw this grid as an extension of the early modernists’ application of the white wall in their domestic structures. As discussed in previous posts, the white wall homogenised the surfaces of modernist domestic dwellings, maintaining the coded masculine dominance of the buildings. The application of Superstudio’s grid replaced the white wall in continuing the authority of the masculine surfaces of the structure. This dominance continued the repression of the individual and prevented the expression of identity in or on the structure.

What fascinated me about this grid was that it could be applied to chairs, tables, buildings – anything that would remove the notion of elitism through the branding of objects. According to Superstudio, by removing the branding, or commercialization, of that object the notion of status relating to it is also removed. However, I apply the grid to objects such as baseball bats that are repeatedly used in bashings, removing the branding of the object.

Glenn Walls. The dual meaning of things. 2009. Baseball bats, mirrored tiles, wood.

What Superstudio and the grid fail to take into account is our need to differentiate ourselves from each other. What I intended to show in my work was that this need to differentiate ourselves from others by coding objects and spaces with personal significance allows us to indicate to others our preferences, our desires and our status. However, as one of the members of Superstudio, Toraldo di Francia, later admitted, the application of the grid onto objects actually ‘initiated a new level of consumerism, and consequently another level of poverty’ (Lang and Menking 2003, p. 19).

Superstudio believed that the grid could provide us with ‘auto pilot’ design. The grid’s application was quick, easy and functional. By using and applying the grid we would have more time to pursue the pleasures of life. The works I created using Superstudio’s grid show that the grid could be manipulated into various forms. This reverses Superstudio’s intentions of creating one item for all by converting mass-produced objects into individual collectables that indicate status and can be attached to narrative and memory.

‘Superlost’ (exhibition title)

Works exhibited:

Glenn Walls. Prototype for Sophisticated Living 1, 2007. Mirror tiles, wood, skate wheels.

Glenn Walls. I am one of God’s mistakes, 2007. Mirror perspex, wood.


Seventh Gallery, 13 – 24 November 2007

Architect/building referenced:

Superstudio: The Continuous Monument: An Architectural Model for Total Urbanization project, 1969–71 (never constructed)

Superstudio’s core ideas relating to the application of the grid that could provide us with ‘auto pilot’ design became the basis for the works for the exhibition ‘Superlost’ held at Seventh Gallery in November 2007. The title refers to our current level of consumer-driven consumption and the idea of being lost in our super houses filled with super things. The intention of the work in the show was that all objects exhibited would have some connection to the period in which Superstudiowas active (1966–78) but would be placed in a contemporary context.

The work I am one of God’s mistakes (2007)was made from a standard sheet of flexible construction plywood and mirror perspex. The plywood was chosen because it is a material used in the construction of buildings. On the plywood was placed the positive and negative mirror perspex of the text I am one of God’s mistakes. The text is taken from American photographer/filmmaker Larry Clark’s (1943– ) photograph of a girl holding a book titled I am one of God’s mistakes. The image appeared in his book Tulsa, which was released in 1971.[1] The mirror surface was used in Superstudio’s The Continuous Monument: an Architectural Model for Total Urbanizationproject in 1969–71, blending their monumental building with the natural environment. However, the intention of using a reflective mirror was to give back a distorted image of ourselves. Many of us are fundamentally concerned with the image we give to others. By looking into the small cut mirrored text we are unable to see an image of ourselves. Our reflection is broken, indicating that we may indeed be ‘one of God’s mistakes’.

Basement Jaxx. Album cover, 2009 utilizing the font New Zelek

Larry Clark, I am one of God’s mistakes Tulsa Series C print, 1971

By using the mirror surface you are looking at yourself while reading I am one of God’s mistakes. I wanted to create a sense that we are all creating a mistake by consuming the amount of stuff we do. I discovered the font used in this work when looking at the website of critically acclaimed UK electronic dance music duo Basement Jaxx.[2] The font is called New Zelek and has been used on virtually all their CD releases and promotional material in recent years.[3] What attracted me to this typeface was that the font had a 1960s and early 1970’s feel about it – a sci-fi feel. This was similar to the feeling l get when looking at images of Superstudio’s The Continuous Monumentand its connection to the rise of sci-fi films in the late 1960s, particularly Stanley Kubrick’s, 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Although Alexey Kustov developed the font at TypeMarket in 1993 on the basis of artworks by Viktor Kharyk and Lidia Kolesnichenko from the 1970s, the font’s adaptation here fitted the criterion I was seeking to apply. That is, the font must have been used in the promotion of mass-produced objects, and either be from or have some connection to the 1970s. The intention was to show that since the development of the font, it has continually been used in the promotion and selling of products in the music/club world.

By placing the mirrored text on construction plywood, the idea was that while you were seeing a reflection of yourself on a building material, the viewer was confronted with the notion of literally being or committing a mistake. My intention was to make the viewers uncomfortable about what we are doing to ourselves and to the planet.

Within the right wing religious world, homosexuality or child birth outside of marriage is viewed as a ‘mistake’ – that homosexuality or sex outside of wedlock is not a normal human function or a sin. What l wanted to do was to reclaim the text, ‘I am one of God’s mistakes’ from Clark’s original intention and, using the materials that Superstudio offered, place the quote firmly back in the public domain reflecting straight back at us; that we are here, and we are part of this space. What I found intriguing about Superstudio’s concept and presentation for the The Continuous Monument was that their reflective surfaces did not allow for mistakes to take place. It seemed that subcultures, minorities or cultural differences were to be ignored in Superstudio’s utopian world. My intention was to use the iconography of Superstudio and to infuse it with not only imagery and objects of subcultures and minorities, but also to apply Superstudio’s grid to various objects that would create one off collectable artworks.

In the gallery space at Seventh, the work I am one of God’s mistakes was placed leaning against the back wall. As you entered the gallery space it was the first piece you saw, with your image reflected in the mirrored perspex. Placed in this position the work and term I am one of God’s mistakes holds a sense of power. Mistakes are what make this world interesting – random or deliberate acts that can claim certain spaces and give a group a voice and an identity.

For many, to seek status through the accumulation of things is what drives us, and to acertain degree drove the members of the radical architectural movement of the 1960s. Structures such as Superstudio’s The Continuous Monument were devised as a way of counteracting the need to consume. Nevertheless these structures’ presence in the landscape created a sense of dominance and power. The fact that they are termed ‘monuments’ by Superstudio connects them to a tradition of publicly visible memorials ranging from the pyramids of Giza on the outskirts of Cairo to the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. Although there is much merit in Superstudio’s theories, I found their failure to acknowledge cultural, social and moral differences in their concepts for architectural change opens up the possibility of re-evaluating their concepts and objects as another consumer product, ready for consumption.

Placed to the left of the entrance of the gallery space at Seventh was the work Prototype for Sophisticated Living 1 (2007). Based on Superstudio’s The Continuous Monument, which was devised by the group to relieve society of its superfluous objects, I have taken their iconic structure and reduced its scale. Superstudio intended their rectangular mirrored grided structures to be monumental in the landscape, however, my intention was to reduce this monumental building to the scale of a consumable, collectable object. There were two reasons for attempting this. First, the idea was to see whether the structure still maintained the same visual impact as the monumental structure in the landscape when reduced in size. Second, the work shows that the grid can be applied to objects of any scale.

Using glass grid mirrors adhered to a wooden frame, I reduced the scale of Superstudio’s rectangular Continuous Monument structure. I then added skate wheels to the bottom of the structure. The work was then placed onto a plinth that measured half a metre square. The structure thus becomes a consumer object that, just like architecture, is to be desired. However, the inclusion of the wheels renders it directionless: the very point that Superstudioclaimed architecture had reached.

The walls in the gallery were painted with the racing strips taken from a custom-painted 1970s Ford Cortina. The racing strip links the installation to consumer and status-driven products such as cars. Cars were chosen as they are a highly visible symbol used to promote status to others.

Beneath the painted racing strip, the lower half of the gallery walls and the plinth for the work Prototype for Sophisticated Living No 1 was painted light blue. As mentioned the purpose here was to connect the works to the coded masculinity the colour blue implies. The light blue is also the same colour artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres employs in his work Untitled (Go-Go Dancing Platform),1991, in which the plinth that the male go-go dancer performs on is light blue. The use of blue links the works in the installation, such as l am one of God’s mistakes,which is a comment on queer identity, to the implied masculinity of Superstudio’s structures. Superstudio’s mirrored ‘one size fits all’ flat geometric-grided surfaces ignore the diversity that abounds within a community.

Andrea Zittel. Rendition of A–Z Pit Bed. Wood, carpet. 1995

The title Prototype for Sophisticated Living is derived from two sources. American artist Andrea Zittel (1965– ) used the title Prototypes to describe the works she created in her Brooklyn showroom/testing-ground called A–Z East. Here she created many of her A–Z Prototypes from the A–Z Pit Bed to the A–Z Food Group Processing Unit in the early 1990s.

Zittel’s collapsible, portable living units, aptly titled A–Z Comfort Units, are based on the module provided by early modernist architecture, but the difference is that once her clients take over their portable domestic environments they are free to improve or alter their space to suit their needs. Zittel states:

I had to come to terms with the idea that once a product departed from my own possession, it would need to be claimed by its new owner. What we forget is that there are at least two authors of every object: One is the designer, the other is the owner. (Zittel cited in Connelly 2000, p. 88–91)

Superstudio failed to acknowledge this process in the development of their grid that would be applied to all their objects and structures. To develop the works for this series, this process involved taking ownership of objects or buildings and reconfiguring them in order to reflect a more personal image to others.

The works are titled prototype as the word implies the object or structure is a one-off or experiment that may go into mass production. These works are about utilising objects that are already mass produced and reconfiguring their meaning or form to create another object that then becomes a prototype that can also be mass produced. The idea would be that the next person to obtain the object or structure would then individualise that object, returning it to prototype form, ready to be mass produced again. And the cycle goes on. Eventually the object will look nothing like its original form.

Second, the work of Canadian artist Brian Jungen (1970– ), who uses mass-produced objects and ‘well-known materials borrowed from consumer culture of the Western World’ (Schouwenberg 2007, p. 243), and reshapes them to make comment on contemporary and ancient cultures such as the First Nations of North America.[4] These masks entitled Prototype for a New Understanding (1998–2005), combine well-known, mass-produced brands, such as Nikeshoes that are re-formed to represent ancient masks, particularly that of the First Nations of North America. But these masks can be equally attributed to indigenous people from many countries such as Africa. These works, at once familiar for their cultural connection to the ancient rituals and cultural identity of certain indigenous people, thrust us into a contemporary reality once the Nike logo and synthetic materials are viewed. Jungen prototypes ask for a new understanding in the way we homogenise cultures through the expansion of global companies and the effects their products on indigenous cultures throughout the world. As Schouwenberg states:

The word Prototype in the title can be defined as ‘model,’ ‘first example,’ the ‘original’ on which all duplicates are based. The masks and their titles ask the observer: how can we call this ‘original’ if it’s made from a mass-produced article? What is ‘identity’ in this postmodern, postcolonial world? What determines identity? Our roots? Our birthplace? Our ancestors? Or is our identity the result of the life we lead, the food we eat, the car we drive and the shoes we wear? (Schouwenberg 2007, p. 244)

Jungen’s work is primarily concerned with cultural identity, focusing on the displacement of native people’s customs and traditions through the blanding of culture by mass advertising and mass production. My works centre on mass-produced objects, however, the focus is on individual concerns, an individual identity. These works show how we can individualise an object to suit our own agenda and separate ourselves from the masses.  Like Jungen’s works that ask for a ‘new understanding’ of the impact global branding and consumerism has on homogenising cultures, my works engage with similar issues of how these prototypes might contribute to the promotion of an image of identity to others.

Brian Jungen. Prototypes for New Understanding. Re-stitched Air Jordans. 1998–2005

[1] Clark, L 1971, Tulsa, L Clark, New York.

[2] ParaType Shop 2007, ParaType Inc, viewed 16 September 2007,

[3] Since the typeface New Zelek has been extensively used in branding of Basement Jaxx, it now often referred to as the Basement Jaxx font.

[4] First Nations people, the indigenous inhabitants of North America, are sometimes called Native Canadians/Americans or Indians.


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Audas, J Brittain-Catlin, T Stuckey, C. 2006. The Cutting Edge of Wallpaper. Black Dog Publishing: London.

Byvanck, V (ed.) 2005, Superstudio-The Middelburg Lectures, De Vleeshal = Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg.

Clark, L 1971, Tulsa, L Clark, New York.

Lang, P and  Menking, W 2003, Superstudio, Life without Objects, Skira: New York.

Schmidt, P, Tietenberg & A, Wollheim, R (eds.) 2005, Patterns in Design, Art and Architecture, Birkhauser, Basel, Switzerland.


ParaType Shop 2007, ParaType Inc, viewed 16 September 2007,

Felix Gonzalez-Torres 2008, The Museum of Modern Art: The Collection, viewed 25 December 2008,


Connelly, J 2000, ‘Andrea Zittell’, Surface Magazine, Summer 2000, pp. 88–91.

Schouwenberg, L 2007, ‘Cultural Encounters’, Frame, no. 56, May–June 2007, pp. 242–246.


Books referenced in the production of artworks

Hoskins, L (ed.) 2005,The paperedwall: the history, patterns and techniques of wallpaper,Thames & Hudson: New York.

Kurrent, F (ed.) 1999, Scale models: houses of the 20th Century,Birkhäuser: Berlin.