The Melbourne art scene was an extremely different place in 1993. Australia was in the midst of the recession we had to have, and many commercial galleries had closed. The painters who had been trendy in the 80s found themselves sending lawyer’s letters to dealers, demanding both the return of their work and money owed. Opportunities to show were thin on the ground, as were visiting curators, residencies or grants for younger artists. There wasn’t the proliferation of public spaces that there is now, and there were almost no artist-run spaces. This would all change later in the 90s, and the scene that we have now was born of that period.
The early 90s were a reaction to the ‘greed is good’ 80s. As a young artist, you could really wallow in your poverty and be at the height of fashion, sartorially and ideologically. You could live off the dole—actually having a job was a lifestyle choice that could see you verbally abused at a backyard party. Rent in a share household in Fitzroy, Carlton or St Kilda was about $50 a week. In those days, the river wasn’t nearly so hard to cross, and Brunswick was somewhere that people’s grandparents lived.
With time on our hands, we had time not just to make our work, but to dream of projects that could easily be accommodated in warehouse or office space that was lying fallow all over the city and surrounding suburbs.