Sunday, March 01, 2015

RMIT

I thought I would take a self guided walking tour of Melbourne University but instead had a mosey around the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. RMIT began its life as the Working Men's College in 1887. It focused on teaching trade subjects to students, both practical and theory with the motto Perita manus, mens exculta, a skilled hand, a cultivated mind. The number of subjects taught has increased manyfold and  a campus in Ho Chi Min City has been opened. RMIT owns a lot of property in this part of town.

To say what was constructed between the two old buildings of the RMIT was controversial is an understatement. It is truly ghastly and now fading badly and something will have to be done with the offensive modern structure. Note it is now RMIT University, and I suppose it is a Uni really, but what an ugly name.


I entered to have a look around and there was a lot of building works happening. Here is some completed much earlier.


Lighting for down below. Many of these in Australia have been filled in or removed. They were often branded Luxfer, but this ones seems not to be.


A happy mix of the old and the new? You can judge.




There were some art gallery spaces within. I don't pretend to have a clue about any of what I saw, including these television screens.


Two cameos would light up accompanied by a sound for perhaps thirty seconds and then another two would light up as the previous two went out. I am just not getting this modern art.


More television screens, showing something that is probably artistic.


This did amuse me slightly.


Maybe something to do with Australia's aboriginal history? Maybe?



These teeth were in a passage way and you can guess what happened when you went up to them to examine more closely.


A little trickery with endless film tape spooling down from the film projector above.


In a room of its own. It is a...............installation?



Well, that is enough of modern artistic culture for me. I am back outside to see things I better understand.


I did not know there was a large space behind the main RMIT buildings with some rather nice buildings.



This is only of interest because in the background you can see the police radio mast on the long closed Russell Street Police Station, the site of a terrible car bombing many years ago. The building is now apartments. The police radio system was known as D24 and you may on odd occasions still hear it referred to as such, "Call D24".


Old entrance lamps either side of the doorway.


Entrance lamps appropriate to the age of the building.


Again, lamps roughly appropriate to the age of the building.


I'm sure it looked terrific in the architectural drawings.


Will such buildings ever be loved?


Aboriginal studies?


Enough of the learnin' institution. Out in Franklin Street is the City Baths, renovated in the 1980s and still popular for swimming and exercise. The new building I think is by the developer Grocon or it could be Multiplex. It sits on the old site of the giant Carlton United Breweries. While I remember the beer trucks coming and going from the brewery, it was long before my time that the area was an unsavoury place where the youth gang the Carlton Roughs used to hang out.


Still in Franklin Street, I had no idea this place was there. What to make of Vampire Vaudeville? Not sure it is my thing.


Just across Swanston Street is Hardrock, a place for rock climbing of sorts. From what I have seen from the outside, although nothing like real rock climbing, it is quite difficult and best left for the younguns.

24 comments:

  1. The aboriginal animation in your post tells the story of the underground cannibals that live at Lake Disappointment, a vast salt pan lake in Western Australia. The artwork is by an aboriginal artist named Billy Atkins and some of the images in the animation were taken from one of the paintings that I own! I've not seen the animation myself so it's off to RMIT I go!

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    1. Ad Rad, I thought I had seen them somewhere before. Did you show us your painting once? Thanks for the background.

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    2. Actually, I think I did ;-)

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    3. Check out Ad Rad's blog for a new picture of his painting of underground animals.

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    4. Checked out the picture and stayed to read a few posts. Nice little blog :)

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    5. River, he doesn't post excessively and so is easy to follow. His posts are neat and to the point.

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  2. How nice to learn about the underground cannibals - about whom I knew less than nothing before I opened your post. Thank you to you and Adaptive Radiation. More exploration ahead.
    Love the lamps and some of the older buildings.

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    1. EC, so interesting, isn't it. I have a pending post with some super sized lamps.

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  3. I love the buildings behind the RMIT. I hate to sound like an idiot but I simply don't get many such art installations. A visit to the Tate Modern would be wasted on me. Give me a nice impressionist painting any day.

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    1. Craig, like you, I need a modern day Sister Wendy to explain them to me, and even then.........

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  4. The Working Men's College was a brilliant idea in 1887. It gave excellent quality training to people who would never in a million years have gone to university, and it held the courses at nights and weekends. Working men loved it. Progressive! Radical! Full of self improvement for families in the Victorian era.

    Leap to 2015. If the university fees are deregulated, tertiary education will again be for the wealthy only :( Then we will have to start re-building Working Men's Colleges for ordinary families again :(

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    1. Hels, Victorian Railways were very much into self improvement for their staff too.

      Sadly this charging for education began with the Labor Party. I wonder if they knew what a monster they were creating. I recall my parents saying they could only afford to send one child to university. As it was, none of us went.

      Free education for all began a long time ago and it is distressing to see it disappear.

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  5. RMIT has a lovely exterior and the mix of old and new has been very nicely done. Those rather ice buildings behind could be Adelaide, the similarity is so great. The Vampire Vaudeville looks very much like our NightTrain Theatre used to look. It was a Theatre Restaurant and I always planned on going one day to eat dinner while I saw a show, but I never made it and now it is gone. The building has been taken over by the Arts College right next door :(

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    1. River, there is very much similar between Melbourne and Adelaide, more so than with Sydney. We had a few of these theatre restaurants, but they have fallen from fashion. As far as I know, this is the only survivor.

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  6. Andrew, interesting city and definitely worth visiting.. I love Franklin street

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    1. Gosia, it is not a loved street but it connects some important parts.

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  7. I had to drag out an old diary...I was in Melbourne in 1983. (Exchange students.) We had a free day in Melbourne and went to Phillip Island. We saw the penguin parade at sunset. :)

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    1. Susie, not too many visitors would not have seen the penguins. It is much more highly organised, read restricted, than back then. They are great to watch.

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  8. Goodness me what IS that hideous thing between the two buildings in the first shot, it has to go! Laughing here at nearly 1am at your descriptions of modern art :) I am a big fan of the artistic mind but really sometimes I think they are just having a lend of us :) Haha! Vampire Vaudeville, could be interesting.. nah!

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    1. Grace, dinosaur vomit? Just thinking about the Vampire, would the waiters kiss your neck when they brought your food? Hmm.

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    2. They'd have to be really cute waiters to get anywhere near my neck.

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    3. River, really cute is how I am imagining them.

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  9. Oh yikes, the underground cannibals, the worst kind of all. Just when I'd grasped the above ground type. I must admit, if I'm told something is artistic, even though I might think its garbage, I'll be inclined to consider it could be artistic, then snicker privately to myself while feeling inadequate on the edge.

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    1. Strayer, exactly as I see some modern art. I laugh inwardly but wonder what I am missing that makes it art?

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