Project: the Yurt empire
Year the project commenced: 2012
Year it became impossible: 2014
"In 2009 I was inspired by Dave Harris and Phoebe Torzillo's year of travelling along the East coast of Australia with their hand made Mongolian Ger strapped to the back of the Ute. At the same time, Sydney, along with all major cities across Australia and certainly globally, was experiencing an excoriating real estate bubble that was wiping out decades of carefully curated pockets of artist habitat in the inner city urban environment.
Yurt Empire was a response to this crisis, by using the engineering excellence and simplicity of the Yurt to inspire the design and construction of 6 dwellings made by 6 artist teams and install them on a waste land site slated for redevelopment in the south of Sydney.
The plan was to operate the site as a site specific installation that would require invigilation and thereby provide affordable housing for artists who would literally occupy the site for 3 months. This was one aspect. The other key part of the work was brokering the site itself. For this we made a video, which functioned as a highly sophisticated place-making campaign to pitch to stakeholders and land developers whose site's we wanted to occupy; and as satirical self referential video art which also featured in the group exhibition 'Baadlands' at the end of 2013 at Tins Sheds Gallery.
In total there were three sites we brokered—and each time we were trumped by the private contractors who shifted their dates for decontaminating the site, which ultimately meant we had to delay production, and subsequently rearranage the schedules of 23 particpating artists - we were finally exhausted, and in a painful resignation, realised it was going to be an impossible project to do, because we could not guarrantee the sites would ever work with our schedules.
The Yurt Empire lives on. We believe it is fated to be resurrected. And next time it will succeed!
Artist: rebecca Conroy
Collaborators: Heidi Axelsen, Zanny Begg, Alexandra Crosby, Claire Britton, Chris Fox, Gaawa, Jennifer Hamilton, Dave Harris, Craig Johnson, Adam Kennedy, Hugo Moline, Matthew Prest, Adriano Pupilli, Phoebe Torzillo, Pia van Gelder, Tessa Zettel, Anique Vered.