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Classical Period of Australian Indigenous Interiors: Shaping of Space and Interiority


Power, J, Classical Period of Australian Indigenous Interiors: Shaping of Space and Interiority, Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, 3, (1) pp. 357-367. ISSN 1833-1874 (2009) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2009 Common Ground, Jacqueline Power

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While building in indigenous Australian culture has been well researched from both an anthropological and architectural point of view, interiority (pre-European contact period) has remained largely un-researched. The implications of rock art (paintings and engravings) and the negative impact of confinement will be discussed from the point of view of interior architecture, in particular from the spatial ideas theorised within interior architecture. Art theory, anthropology and design representation will be drawn upon. ‘Cultural places,’ the stories revealed by the physical landscape and the evidence which has been left by indigenous occupants of the land, are revealing for the study of interiority. Dark magic rock paintings or ‘purri purri’ in the Laura Basin and sandstone engravings in the Sydney region reveal a strong spatial effect created by indigenous art. A whale engraving in North Sydney, one of the many whale representations in the region, presents an image for some contemplation in relation to interior architecture and its principles. The purpose of the image and representation of the ‘event’ will be considered. Whale bones themselves were a known material utilized in some classical indigenous building. Funerary practices involving the internment of bones within the enclosed space of logs is of importance in relation to the idea of death resulting from enclosure. In north- eastern Arnhem Land the Hollow Log or Bone Coffin ceremony still takes place. After the internment of the bones, the log is painted with clan designs and placed upright in the ground. The act of painting creates a strong linkage between the log and the human body, just as traditional architectural elements and human physiology are intimately connected.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:interior architecture, indigenous Australians, rock engravings, representation, funerary practices
Research Division:Built Environment and Design
Research Group:Architecture
Research Field:Architectural history, theory and criticism
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Understanding past societies
Objective Field:Understanding Australia's past
UTAS Author:Power, J (Dr Jacqueline Power)
ID Code:88243
Year Published:2009
Deposited By:Architecture
Deposited On:2014-01-22
Last Modified:2016-02-11

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