Extra-interior Makeshift practices and localised creative broadcasts

Main Article Content

Sarah Burrell


This article responds to the challenges facing creative practitioners whose work engages with aspects of ‘public’ provoked by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The temporary physical closures of established creative infrastructures such as galleries, museums and festivals have disrupted the traditional dynamics of production and reception. This presents both challenges and opportunities for artists and designers to develop new forms of creative engagement with public audiences and spaces.

The confinement of people to a 5-kilometre radius during extended lockdowns in Melbourne, Australia in 2020 prompted a reflection on the opportunities of the ‘local’ as a particular context for creative practice. This restriction imposed a perimeter that brought people’s day- to-day lives into an enclosed loop and produced what could be thought of as a form of interior. In this period, ordinary domestic and local spaces — for example the home office or studio gained manifold functions for many creative practitioners, including as a space for self- initiated public presentations of their work. In several cases, windows, balconies, and doorways became thresholds for interaction with passers-by. This self-broadcasting situation provided an opportunity for practitioners to play an active role in cultivating new relations and forms of publicity from a localised setting.

In this article, these shifts in practice are investigated through a critical reflection on a series of spatial interventions within a street-facing window of a studio space in Brunswick, Melbourne, an inner-city suburb where residential streets mix with spaces of industrial and creative production. The liminal space of the window became a way to speculate on the concept of thresholds between diverse conditions, including public and private, art and the everyday, urban and local, and interior and exterior. These investigations engaged with a ‘makeshift’ mode of practice, leading to the production of extra-ordinary interior conditions.

Article Details

How to Cite
Burrell, Sarah. 2021. “Extra-Interior: Makeshift Practices and Localised Creative Broadcasts”. Idea Journal 18 (01):151-72. https://doi.org/10.51444/ij.v18i01.435.
Author Biography

Sarah Burrell, RMIT, School of Architecture and Urban Design, Interior Design

Sarah Burrell is a spatial designer and artist whose practice spans installation, interactive design, and socially-engaged practice. Her projects take the form of sound installations, participatory performances and urban interventions—innovative hybrid works that invite participants to reimagine the world they live in and how they participate in it. Her work has been presented at Art in Odd Places and La Mama Experimental Theatre in New York, The Performance Arcade and the Creative NZ 21st Century Interactive Art Conference in New Zealand, The Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space in the Czech Republic, and Art Prospekt in Russia. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Interior Design at RMIT University, School of Architecture & Urban Design. 

She is a current doctoral candidate within Interior Design at RMIT University, School of Architecture & Urban Design.




Georges Perec, Species of Spaces and Other Pieces, translated by John Sturrock (London: Penguin, 2009), 210.

Perec, Species of Spaces and Other Pieces, 210.

Suzie Attiwill, ‘Urban and Interior: techniques for an urban interiorist,’ in Urban Interior: Informal Explorations, Interventions and Occupations, edited by Rochus Urban Hinkel and Suzie Attiwill (Baunach: Spurbuchverlag, 2011), 13.

Fine-Dictionary.com, ‘Makeshift,’ accessed December 14, 2020, http://www.finedictionary.com/ makeshift.html.

For Dada, Fluxus and the S.I. see Nikos Papastargiadis, Spatial Aesthetics: Art, Place and the Everyday (Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures, 2010) 23. For Ukeles see Eugenia Lim, ‘Mierle Laderman Ukeles: a human being is the whole world,’ accessed April 28, 2021, https://assemblepapers. com.au/2017/11/16/mierle- laderman-ukeles-a-human- being-is-the-whole-world/.

For Kaprow see Allan Kaprow and Jeff Kelley, Essays on

the Blurring of Art and Life (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993).

Tate.org.uk, ‘Fluxus,’ accessed May 9, 2021, https://www.tate. org.uk/art/art-terms/f/fluxus.

Tate.org.uk, ‘Dada,’ accessed May 9, 2021, https://www.tate. org.uk/art/art-terms/d/dada.

Lim, ‘Mierle Laderman Ukeles: a human being is the whole world,’ accessed April 28, 2021, https://assemblepapers.com. au/2017/11/16/mierle-laderman- ukeles-a-human-being-is-the- whole-world/.

Jane Rendell, Art and Architecture: A Place Between (London: I. B. Tauris, 2006)." "10 Criticism and Practice, see Jane Rendell et al., Critical Architecture (Florence: Routledge, 2007), https://doi. org/10.4324/9780203945667. For art and architecture see Rendell, Art and Architecture. For site and writing, see Jane Rendell, Site-Writing: The Architecture of Art Criticism (London: Tauris, 2010).

Rendell, Art and Architecture, 6.

The studio sits on the un-ceded lands of the Wurundjeri Woi- wurrung people of the Kulin Nation.

Bianca Hester, Please leave these windows open overnight to enable the fans to draw in cool air during the early hours of the morning, 2010, installation, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Australia.

Charlotte Day and Bianca Hester, ‘Five Points of View,’

n.d. Accessed 21 January 2021, http://www.biancahester. net/?q=node/53/

Christopher Cottrell, ‘Interior Turbulence and the

Thresholding of Atmospheres,’ Interstices Journal of Architecture and Related Arts 15, 60.

Gaston Bachelard, et. al, The Poetics of Space (Boston: Beacon Press, 1994), 217.

Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, 217.

Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, 217.

Rainer Maria Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, translated by Stephen Mitchell (New York: Vintage Books, 1990), 106.

Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, 217.

Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, 106.

Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, 106.

Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, 106." "24 Elizabeth Grosz ‘Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth,’ IDEA Journal, INSIDEOUT (2005), 19, accessed 22 December, 2020, http://idea-edu.com/journal_ context/2005-idea-journal/.

Gilles Deleuze, Ethology: Spinoza and Us, edited by Jonathan Crary and Sanford Kwinter, translated by Robert Hurley (New York: Zone Books, [1970] 1992), 628.

Elizabeth Grosz, Architecture from the Outside: Essays on Virtual and Real Space (The MIT Press, 2001), 96.

Perec, Species of Spaces and Other Pieces, 210.

Grosz, Architecture from the Outside: Essays on Virtual and Real Space, 96.

Lawrence Halprin, ‘The RSVP Cycles: Creative Processes

in the Human Environment,’ Choreographic Practices (Online) 5, no. 1 (2014): 39–47.

Richard Sennett, [Harvard GSD] (2016, April 26). Interiors and interiority [Video file]. Accessed 23 April 2021, https://youtu.be/ hVPjQhfJfKo.

Sandra Bloodworth, ‘Sweatshop Rebels: The Story of the Kortex Strike,’ (Flemington, Vic.: Redback Press, 1983).

Rochas Urban Hinkel, ‘From Analogue to Virtual: Urban Interiors in the Pandemicene,’ Interiority 3, no. 2 (2020): 133.

Suzie Attiwill, ‘Urban Interiors and Interiorities,’ in Cultural, Theoretical, and Innovative Approaches to Contemporary Interior Design, edited by Luciano Crespi (Hershey, PA: IGI Global, Information Science Reference, 2020), 60.

For the ‘ultra-local’ see Kathy Waghorn, ‘The Practice

of Feeling for Place: A Compendium for an Expanded Architecture’ (Melbourne, RMIT, 2017), 74. https://www. semanticscholar.org/paper/ The-practice-of-feeling-for- place%3A-a-compendium-for-Waghorn/56b0698bed7c4edfc37fc6b311d18274a9a52be9.