Redfern Waterloo: Tour of Beauty, (SquatSpace) (2005-) consisted of a bus (or bike) tour of the inner Sydney suburbs of Redfern and Waterloo. The tour highlighted particular sites which were threatened by the Redfern Waterloo Authority’s plan to “revitalise” the area.
Each tour lasted 4-5 hours, and tourists were addressed by various representatives of the local community – for example, from the Aboriginal Housing Company, the local Indigenous Women’s Centre, the Settlement Community Centre, the REDWatch activist group, architects, designers, and the Indigenous Social Justice Association.
Each speaker presented their perspective on the rapidly gentrifying suburb. The tour asked: what was to be lost and what was to be gained by the process of urban transformation? How could it be done better? And how would it affect people on the ground?
About 15 tours were run during the period 2005-2009.
The Tour of Beauty operated as a piece of aesthetic activism, providing a complex but concrete experience of urban social and architectural dynamics. The Tour was a plug-in for various conferences, exhibitions and visiting study groups. It was the catalyst for meetings between Indigenous and white activists in Sydney, and led to many spin off projects, the most visible being the large-scale exhibition event There Goes the Neighbourhood (2009).
The tour was offered in conjunction with numerous exhibitions, festivals and conferences including:
Disobedience, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, 2005
If You See Something, Say Something, Mori Gallery, 2007
ArtLanguage: Every Publishable Place, Cross Arts Project Space, 2006
There Goes The Neighbourhood, Performance Space, 2009
ChangeX Conference, Sydney University, 2006
GANG Festival, Sydney, 2006
Concrete Culture (in conjunction with Sydney Biennale),
Ivan Dougherty Gallery, 2008
Heaven on Earth – Keep Going, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, 2007.
Engage Conference, University of Technology, Sydney, 2006.
Terra Nullius, ACC Weimer and Halle 14 Leipzig, Germany, 2009
A “ten year anniversary tour” is planned for Redfern-Waterloo in 2015.
In 2015, the project was shortlisted for the 2nd International Award for Public Art.
More info on Redfern Waterloo Tour of Beauty:
Julia Gwendolyn Schneider,
Un-Collectable Art: The Australian network un-collectable artists and a critical urban development project in Sydney, Springerin, Issue 01, 2009.
Amy Griffiths, From Then to Now:Artist Run Initiatives in Sydney, New South Wales, Masters Thesis, UNSW, 2012.
Lucas Ihlein, Complexity, Aesthetics and Gentrification: The Redfern Waterloo Tour of Beauty, published in There Goes the Neighbourhood, in conjunction with exhibition of the same name, curated/edited by Keg de Souza and Zanny Begg, Performance Space, Sydney, 2009.
Lucas Ihlein, Public Art as Public Conversations, publishedin Harmonic Tremors: Aesthetic Interventions in the Public Sphere. Edited by Sarah Rainbird, Gasworks, Melbourne, 2009.
Lucas Ihlein, Art as Situated Experience, published in If you see something say somethingnewspaper, which accompanied exhibition of the same name, curated/edited by Keg de Souza and Zanny Begg, Mori Gallery, Sydney, 2007.
Tim Wright, Our Eyes Are Constantly Adjusting. SquatSpace Redfern Waterloo Tour of Beauty, published in If you see something say something newspaper, which accompanied exhibition of the same name, curated/edited by Zanny Begg and Keg de Souza, Mori Gallery, Sydney, 2007.
Zanny Begg, “DIY architecture: Squatspace and the Tour of Beauty“, Concrete Cultures, 2008
William Sturrock, “Tour of Beauty“, Sydney Biennale, 2008.
David McNeill, “Putting Sincerity to Work: Acquiescence and Refusal in Post-Fordist Art”, in The Rhetoric of Sincerity (Cultural Memory in the Present), edited by Ernst van Alphen, Mieke Bal, and Carel Smith, Stanford University Press, 2009.
Mickie Quick, Redfern-Waterloo tour, a thing of beauty, South Sydney Herald, April 2006. (Article scanned here).
Eve Vincent, Tour of Beauty, Meanjin, Vol. 65, No. 2, 2006.
Hagar Cohen, The Wire (2SER radio), short documentary about Redfern Waterloo Tour of Beauty. Listen to mp3 file here, 12 September 2006.
Anneke Jaspers, “Redfern Waterloo Tour of Beauty – Anneke Jaspers interviews SquatSpace”, Runway Magazine, Issue 9, 2007.