East Row Museum


Type: Curatorial
Dates: 18 - 22 March 2015 during You Are Here festival
Collaborators: Julia Johnson (exhibition design) and Farz Edraki (audio tour). Lots more below.
Role: Creative direction and production.


About East Row Museum

Housed in the You Are Here festival hub space, this temporary museum invited curators (artists, writers, teachers, ‘outsiders’ etc.) to contribute a collection that playfully subverted the museum space. Curators were asked: what happens when fiction becomes part of the way we document history? How can collections be used as a tool for storytelling?

Audiences enjoyed a complimentary audio tour around the museum as they viewed collections from half-remembered mementos of motherhood to objects salvaged from time travel to a forgotten 90s sludge pop band. They could then add their own stories to exhibits in the collection while they visited (see some examples below). 

Curators: Hannah Bath and Chris Carmody; Vanessa Berry; The Sculptural Collective: Tom Buckland, Corri Hakaraia, Janet Ranken, Rebecca Selleck and Sian Watson; Lucy Caldwelll; Oscar Capezio and Naomi Xeros; Chiara Grassia; Peter Jones and Susan Taylor;  Zid Mancenido; Frances Staden; and Ellen Wignell.

Additional artist credits included below where relevant. 

Selected Works

From the Caverna Magica Collection by Vanessa Berry

Loop Gorge (Just Keep Walking)
Year of production unknown, printed card

If I kept walking and didn't stop I would walk out of the city and through the suburbs, over the mountains and the plains and into the desert. I would look behind me and see no footprints in the sand, I would be as light as a ghost. In the west I would reach the place where the rocks swirl in marble patterns, each line a thousand years, counting back to the beginning of time.

Recreation of Evelyn Greene’s still life painting ‘It’s Still Life with Fruits, Flowers, and a Book’, 1968 (destroyed 1969), a re-collection by Oscar Capezio and Naomi Xeros

Evelyn Greene
Born Yass NSW, 31 May 1906, Died 1971

The Recreation of Evelyn Greene’s Still Life re-presents a macabre allegory of the painter’s despair and eventual decline. This living still life (or vie nature morte) restages and reflects the absence of the original work, and the sense of loss at its centre. A mere parody of the authentic, it attempts to mirror the terrible force of decay in the face of death; re-doubling the artist’s ferocious drive to death, through superficial surfaces of objects with unshakable significance. What we see here is haunted by what is outside, or out of sight: a spectral past and a self-undone, or done-in.

The late Evelyn Greene (b.1906) was an Australian painter of allegorical still lifes and interiors. The work ‘It’s Still-Life with Fruits, Flowers, and a Book’ was undertaken during a period of prolonged melancholic introspection, when at the end of the 1960s Greene began to reflect on a failure to achieve recognition in light of a rising avant-garde. Presumably destroyed by the artist after its exhibition at Watters Gallery in Sydney in 1968, this richly symbolic composition offers a complex portrait and dynamic context for the painter’s last years.

From the Oral History Collection by Zid Mancenido

OBJECT#2 (second from left)
Zid Mancenido
2015, Painting: acrylic paint on rubber and plastic

This painting is based entirely on memories of what once lay on the bathroom vanity in the artist’s childhood home in Bankstown, Sydney. The rubber and plastic were painted consecutively and each individual bristle is retouched in homage to his childhood fascination with the difference between the materials used in bristles and dental floss. This fascination was to fuel the rest of the artist’s life work, effectively the catalyst for further productions of complex oral hygiene related constructions.

From Treasures from the Museum of Slack Motherhood, by Frances Staden

Milk teeth
P-P family
Early 1980s, dentine and enamel

These sets of milk teeth belong to a brother and sister now in their mid-thirties. In line with standard Museum requirements, the donor does not remember which set is which.

Our collection includes a wide range of teeth, some identified, many not. Other common physical mementos are locks of hair, often from the first haircut, and, for the not so squeamish, umbilical cord stumps. In rare cases there is an intended use for the item: jewellery perhaps or garden fertilisation. 

From the Museum of Time Travel Collection by the Sculptural Collective: Tom Buckland, Corri Hakaraia, Janet Ranken, Rebecca Selleck and Sian Watson.

Mr. Steven's Synthetic Organ Delivery Service Drone
Tom Buckland
2015 – Commercially produced radio drone chassis (customised), synthetic heart

With advancements in medical technology in the mid 2010's, artificial organs became popular and affordable. Lovers could woo their sweethearts with the gift of a beating synthetic heart. An extra breast became a popular baby shower gift and an additional spleen became a sought after fashion accessory. Seizing on this popularity, remote controlled drones were purposed to deliver door-to-door organs for a nominal fee. However, the service was soon deemed a failure due to the interference of pedestrians and dogs.

From the Mixed Concrete collection by  Peter Jones and Susan Taylor

Ken Cox
1968, postcard

The English kinetic sculptor Ken Cox was knocked over and killed by a car while visiting London in 1968. He was 41 and on the cusp of national and international recognition. ‘I feel entirely at home with the concrete concept. Probably I should be called a sculptor and yet I came to sculpture through poetry.’ (Ken Cox, 1968).

From the Frayed Collection: a brief retrospective of Canberra’s lost sludge pop band Splinter by Chiara Grassia

Band photograph
Vanessa Psychobabble,
1993, photograph

Rare press photograph intended for Splinter’s debut album, Slush Pile. Splinter (clockwise from top left): Ivy Grey (drums), Tabitha Sunday (guitar), Bob Cook (bass), Billy Don’t (vocals).

From the Breaking Points collection by Lucy Caldwell

Fragment, Fragments, Fragmented (detail)
Charles Walker,
2015, glass, bronze

Fragment, Fragments, and Fragmented mimic movement and action. This series is perhaps the most literal of the artist’s focus on ‘happy accidents’. Each miniscule sculpture stands at a different stage of force; fracturing at different intensities to show the viewer just how far the medium can be pushed.


Selected Audience Contributions