This week has brought on some rather unexpected changes in terms of looking ahead to the next assignment. Our potential groups met up on Tuesday of this week to discuss our ideas. My original group was discussing topics related to community groups within the western suburbs and while this interested to me to a degree, I found that it was not really aligned with the work I had been doing so far during this studio. I was really hoping to focus on something in the vein of industrial labour – refer to my work on Hume Pipe co. – and was fast realising that joining the Westgate group was the best way to achieve this.
Campbell gave me a rundown on what the group has been looking at thus far, and I fast realised that there are many different aspects to the Westgate bridge. I have mentioned before in my blog posts that in regards to the more general topic of the west, I am coming from an outsider’s perspective – and this couldn’t be truer when it comes to the west gate. Prior to the research, I have just done, I had little knowledge about the bridge – only that it collapsed and that it was a major disaster.
However, I have come to learn that my group is intrigued not only by the collapse but by the long history of the bridge – it’s beginnings, the politics surrounding it’s building, and of course the eventual collapse and the aftermath. The initial planning we have undertaken of this project has been quite focused. The project will take the form of a series of chaptered videos encompassing these different areas, and perhaps visually represented as the pillars of the bridge. I imagine it will take the form of an interactive website. I think this is a very intriguing topic, and that this is a great way of considering it – in that we want to look at the bridge not just as a single event (the collapse) but rather as something of an icon that has carried with it so many different stories and experiences, particularly for those in the west.
See the video below which chronicles the opening of the bridge in 1978 – it’s great footage, and the title ‘Gateway to a city’ gives one an idea of the bridge as just that – representing such a major shift in transportation in Melbourne. It also puts into perspective how huge the opening event was.