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The Cabinet of Large Concerns

Part 2 Project 2011
Joshua Morrin
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology | Australia
Most of the things, that most of us want, can in some respect be found. But what happens when the thing you really desire can’t be found?

Such is the origin of the Cabinet of Large Concerns, a new institution of 100 thinkers engaged in matters of public concern, proposed on the site of Parliament House, Victoria. Parliament’s status as an Island within its context is the pretext for its imagined role as the Isle of Man, a metaphorical Island for the human condition. Loosed from its regular moorings we are freed to inspect ourselves, and to ask: Who are we? Where are we going?

The nature of the question casts the reader as Land Surveyor. Where Hoddle (Melbourne’s first surveyor) was the original European, Kafka’s universal K., reconfigured as the Seat of the Self, is the more appropriate translation, and takes us to the shores of the Isle of Man. The site is imagined as a series of gardens and landscape elements, and marked by the strong distinction between “North” and “South”, respectively the cerebral and visceral poles of the human condition.

Bourke St, the Main Road, is an axis of Desire within the city’s urban structure, intended by Hoddle to project beyond its current termination at the House of Parliament. The absence of the proposed Dome is motivation toward a consideration of possible futures, considered figuratively by the axial relationship to other centres within the City.

The dual foci of the ellipse (now/not yet) offer a geometrical figure for correcting these axes to a stronger Desire, becoming manifest as a void about which an architecture is created, culminating in the Wayfarer’s Hall, the place where we go, when we don’t know where we are going. Peering through the Main Doors, we might remember that Desire which lies within.

As we sit, in real time, in the physical construct of this Cabinet, we might ask: Who are we? And What, or perhaps Whom, do we really Desire?

It is in the joy of finding that sweet Desire that we shall escape the House of Slavery- even that of Architecture.

Joshua Morrin


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