Julia Weissenberg. Nothing to Retain, 2014. Video Still.
Nothing to Retain is a two-channel video that slowly explores a temporary reconstruction of a building designed by Mies van der Rohe, but never built. The play in the work, between permanence and impermanence, is particularly relevant to Total House, and its current status as a locus for debates surrounding architectural heritage; between those who argue for its preservation and heritage significance and those who see it as a potential site for new development. Weissenberg’s work complements the works of Amie Siegel and Victor Burgin at Screen Space, whose exhibitions explore the connections between modernist architecture and contemporary media technology.
Added to the Victorian Heritage Register in 2014, Total House is one of Melbourne’s best examples of Japanese-inspired Brutalist architecture. Off-form concrete accentuates the building’s structure and function while overtop the floating parking decks is an office block resembling an old television set. Total House was originally built to accommodate the massive increase in car ownership in the post-World War II period and remains both historically and architecturally significant to the state of Victoria. It is possibly one of the first buildings in Australia to combine a multi-story carpark, office building, ground level shops and a theatre in the basement. A nightclub has since replaced the basement cinema and the office space is now home to a multitude of architecture and design practices.
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Nothing to Retain