MOVING HOUSE – MELBOURNE ART TRAMS 2015

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By Jessica Dickers

 

You might see something a bit different on your commute to work this month, as eight Melbourne trams have been visually transformed into moving works of art.

 

In its third year as part of the Melbourne Festival, the 2015 Melbourne Art Trams project selected the eight artists who had best responded to the brief to create a design around the theme “architecture and the city.”

 

The project, which is made possible by a creative partnership between Melbourne Festival, Yarra Trams and Creative Victoria, in association with MPavilion, received more than 145 proposals from across Victoria.

 

Photographer James Voller is one of the artists involved and he decided to turn his tram into a house.

 

“All the other works I’ve done have been photos of houses on static objects and I thought it would be a nice idea to make a house move, effectively,” he said.

 

Imagine the side of a toilet block transformed to look like a blue weatherboard cottage…”

 

Voller has spent the last three years photographing houses in Melbourne’s Northern and Western suburbs and turning these images into public artworks, by superimposing them onto other structures in different locations.

 

Imagine the side of a toilet block transformed to look like a blue weatherboard cottage from Fitzroy or an abandoned building turned into a red brick townhouse.

 

For his art tram, Voller chose an image of an old Victorian workers cottage, a style of architecture usually reserved for the inner suburbs.

 

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“The houses in these areas are very unique, I’ve lived in both Europe and New Zealand and I’ve never seen such combinations of different styles of architecture,” he said.

 

Voller also wants people to acknowledge the design and style of these buildings because they are increasingly being lost due to factors like urban infill and gentrification.

 

“I’m sure it’s happening in other places, but especially around areas such as Northcote, High Street, and up in Coburg and Maribyrnong,” he commented.

 

“Everyday I go back and photograph these spaces, I notice another house has been knocked down and there’s a concrete block ready for apartments. I’m not saying that this is a good or bad thing, I’m just acknowledging that it’s occurring and I want to pay attention to the type of architecture that’s being changed.”

 

That’s why I like photographing houses, you can walk past a suburb and not really notice them but then when you take them out of the suburban street and put them on an urban street, it changes the context completely,”

 

It is Voller‘s hope that his work inspires people to stop and take notice of the architecture around them.

 

“That’s why I like photographing houses, you can walk past a suburb and not really notice them but then when you take them out of the suburban street and put them on an urban street, it changes the context completely,” he explained.

 

Voller’s art tram is his largest work to date and one that’s proven to be a lot different to previous public installations because, well, it’s a moving tram.

 

“It was a bit different to the other structures I’ve wrapped images on before just because it has doors and windows itself, so it was a bit of a challenge,” he said.

 

“But it’s great to take such an iconic piece of infrastructure and let artists reinterpret them. It’s also great to see art in everyday situations, which is another thing I’m really interested in. I do work with galleries but I think it’s really interesting to put art outside of galleries and get more people interacting with it.”

 

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The other 2015 art tram artists are Stephen Banham, Matthew Bird and Phillip Adams, Martine Corompt, Louise Forthun, Amanda Morgan, Kathy Temin and Tom Vincent.

 

All of the trams will be taking passengers until April 2016 and can be located on the tramTRACKER mobile app by entering one of the following tram numbers: 2009, 270, 3509, 3008, 209, 175, 136, plus the city circle line.

 

Melbourne residents can also vote for their favourite in the People’s Choice Award, which closes on Sunday 29 November at 12pm. The winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize and three lucky voters will be rewarded with either a Melbourne Festival ticket voucher or a Tram Car Restaurant voucher.

 

For further information, visit https://www.festival.melbourne/arttrams.

 

 

Jessica is a part time editorial assistant and freelance writer. With a background in art and culture writing, she can usually be found searching for a new local café or lost in a pile of magazines jessicadickers.wordpress.com

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