Melbourne Arts Precinct, Melbourne, Australia
The human experience of cities around the world is marked by the encounter of different cultures and perspectives, unprecedented density of urban cores, and over-stimulation and saturation of commercial activities. Enveloped within cities, we no longer look up to the night sky. The stars have been lost to urban lights. We’ve forgotten how to draw imaginary lines between the stars, forming constellations and telling stories that transport us to a dream world. The First People of the Australian land walked the plains following the stars, learning the pattern of the rocks and groves along the way. Now, instead of looking to the stars for guidance, we rely on Google maps and miss beautiful moments entirely as our attention is pulled in every direction.
As the leading cultural node in Australia, the MAPT must reflect on this contemporary condition and the role of cultural institutions within it. We imagine the experience of this place is akin to that of walking the plains, basking in a sense of generosity and beauty, sometimes encountering the gentle bend of a river, other times immersed in bush-land. The meadows tell stories of a resilient land whose tapestry of colors and textures hold secret meanings known by the Aboriginal people of Australia. We feel rooted in the history of place as we look to the future. Well-considered points of interest and sparks of activation form a constellation guiding visitors through the space. The constellation changes throughout day and night and with the seasons; sometimes one discovers a new star or the quiet disappearance of another.
The Melbourne Arts Precinct will be a place where art and performance play out among gardens on a scale and complexity unprecedented in Australia. Visitors will meander, gather, play and perform among gardens that will become as renowned and loved as the cultural institutions they surround.