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Denizens

March 5, 2011

I had a fine time in Adelaide, creating the Den and exploring the suburbs. I even went on the O-Bahn, which I was curious about from last time I was there. I saw it displayed on the front of buses and some buses even said “O-Bahn to Paradise”! I have only ever been to Adelaide when it’s over 35 degrees, and this time was no exception. I had taken along a good array of summer dresses, so I was equipped. I also took along a number of weird items to make the den, some of which I was forced to carry on board the plane, as my bag was overweight. Yes, I had to carry on the shell encrusted marlin.

Anyway, here’s what the Den looked like when it was all set up:

Here is us in lounge pose. I’d chosen an all red leisure suit outfit rather than the 70s dress option (of which I have about 10o to choose from). The fern of course corresponds to my interests but also, if you look in any 70s decorating book, there are ferns galore. 

Here we see some folks enjoying the Den. A lot of the activity in the Den happened in the night after we had gone home – we departed at sunset. There was a gig on downstairs and lots of people used the Den for lounging, according to reports. They’d eaten all the food we’d left for them, and rifled through the matchboxes, and written drunk messages on the typewriter. Why wasn’t I at this party? Well, we were like 70s fairy aunts, setting up this place like magic, then having to head back to our magic tree in the suburbs.

Here’s that fiend of a marlin, he took all the attention! I bought him from the Salvos the day before I left to go to Adelaide. I’d seen him in the window the night before and rushed up there the moment it opened the next day, fearing competition (there was no competition). As I mentioned before, I had to carry him on the plane with me. No one seemed to bat an eyelid. I was flying Jetstar, which I had only done once before (I know that Tiger airlines is the one to whinge about these days, but I am far to afraid to fly them). The one time I flew Jetstar the terrible wrenching noise that accompanied the extension of the wheel kept me anxious throughout takeoff and landing. This time there were no mechanical problems, but my fellow passengers were really chatty. Still, no one asked about the marlin. When I got to Adelaide, though, he was a sensation. 

The Working Couple’s Cookbook is a hoot – it has these crazy images of the working couple cooking dinner together, and the menus are divided up into his and hers tasks: the women always get the meat preparation, for some reason. 

I got a new ribbon for the Dora and took her along for the Den. She wasn’t allowed to go in my carry on luggage (well, the check in girl didn’t know if a typewriter would be allowed to go through the security scanner, even though I said it was just like a laptop). This was in the desk area of the den, which also had a knitting machine, and an old tin with a happy scene involving an English Sheepdog, the likes of which I see in vintage shops for exorbitant prices, although we found ours for $1.

This is the kitchen corner. The fern and macrame need no explanation. Below you can see the Tang jug with sachets of Tang (or Vitafresh, as it is called these days) waiting to be reconstituted inside. I can’t help it, I like Tang. It felt good to drink it out of a pottery cup. The marshmallow slices on the cutting on the wall we actually made and they looked exactly like they did in the picture.

Some of the fine records released in the 1970s. We swapped Roy with the Wings album, noticing that then all 3 record covers featured people with outstretched arms. You can also see a glimpse of our fibre optic lamp on the table, which performed valiantly, though expired before the end of the installation.

It was much fun, and thanks to Format for having us. Now back to everyday life…

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2011 6:26 pm

    Your attention to detail is as ever astute. Great!

  2. March 20, 2011 1:26 pm

    hey vb, great story, wish i could have been there to see your work.

    to me, what you guys exhibited is the hidden underbelly of 1970s conceptual art – all the consumer items which were never allowed to enter the austere, document-heavy white cubes at the time!

    also, my favourite part of this story is this:

    “the check in girl didn’t know if a typewriter would be allowed to go through the security scanner, even though I said it was just like a laptop”

    …eventually, i suppose, every technological metaphor turns on its head.

    how quickly things change!

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