Edition Office and Yhonnie Scarce
Naarm, Boon Wurrung and Woi Wurrung Country / Kulin Nation
Located on Naarm, the traditional lands of the Kulin Nation, ‘In Absence’, the fifth annual National Gallery of Victoria Architecture Commission, invited audiences to better understand the fallacy and ongoing legacy of the colonial premise of Terra Nullius, which declared Australia as an emptiness awaiting ownership, by revealing and celebrating over 3000 generations of Indigenous design, industry and agriculture.
Within the context of the NGV garden site, the elemental cylindrical form of the project stands tall and proud, exerting a tangible presence upon the National Gallery of Victoria and to the people venturing within it.
The void within the centre of the bifurcated tower, the false absence of a people, contains a twin pair of chambers whose form and material reference historical permanent stone dwellings, charred smoking trees and fish traps. 1600 handmade black glass Murnong which adorn the inner walls reference a staple yam crop of Indigenous communities, managed and harvested for thousands of generations
The mirrored interior speaks to equity of exchange, an intimate resting space to enable deep listening, truth telling, knowledge sharing and connection to country.