In the last two years two opportunity shops have emerged in Darwin. One in its main mall and one on Knuckey street. That alone is of significance. But, what does it tell you when a two dollar shop in a town’s centre closes down?
Darwin artist, critic and barrister Koulla Roussos has recently been taking photographs of the empty buildings of Darwin and provides some answers.
I often think about the lessons of the Renaissance when reflecting on my city. One of those lessons is the legacy of the wealthy, the architects, the artists and the philosophers who came together to rescue beauty, truth and wisdom from the dark ages of history. Those citizens sought to shape their present and future with the public good in mind and turned to philosophy to nurture the beautiful and the good.
Darwin is so far removed from that Renaissance ideal and is just the right size to get a global perspective on the zeitgeist cannibalising our time.
I take photographs of these empty Darwin buildings to highlight the absence of the public good ideal shaping our city.
We are shaped by the buildings around us. Successful urbanism is not an accident. Darwin is the quintessential post-historical frontier town masquerading as a fake city, an ugly city where the overwhelming ethos is one of indifference; where the spectacle of private opulence thinly camouflages public squalor, squander and neglect.
Darwin is an excellent metaphor for the belligerency shaping our time.
This article was originally published on Bob Gosford’s Crikey blog This Northern Myth