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Dick Black

RMIT Master of Architecture, Design Studio Semester 2 2015

Supervised by Dr Michael Spooner


Philip Chang, Kat Samarzia, Jesse Thomas, Danny Trong, Phong Pham, Hannah Kuek, Laura Burley, Eck Bala, Elahe Golujeh, Nicole Kirby & Hang Jiang.

The studio title Dick Black  is realised from the instruction from the prior studio ‘No Homo’–  to conceive of drag-names from the remnants of architecture staff – that resulted in such stunners as Lexi van Dyke, Bent Orpress, Lean Laul Lolo, John Doily, Mamy de Muir, Chrispy Fillets and Vivacious Missgenius. Dick Black was the name that transformed the least in its queering of an existing condition, and in doing so suggested how the problematizing of this threshold between an abject and a normative condition contributes new insights into the production of space and hence the implications this problematizing has for new architectures.

Such a space constitutes a site of social enterprise that cannot be formally recognised due to its often hermetic production and the prejudiced economies of the world, but that has existed and has been considered historically from the mid 1800s onwards. There has been an extraordinary examination of the thresholds – social, culture and economic – that constitutes the production inside and outside of the quiddity of this space. Attempts to describe it reflect on the other, abjection and camp-ness. But it is also by these same mechanisms with which any examination of this space is itself subverted and appropriated. Consequently this space is contingent and thus the mechanisms by which to engage with it can only ever be improvised.

The studio confronts how the practice of improvisation and its associated instruments of production could be tasked with elucidating the difficult plurality of concerns that tentatively outline this space whilst countering homogeneity.

The studio developed a convent for the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a world-wide order of drag artists that, parodying judeo-christian institutional structures and imagery, publically raise awareness of gender and sexual intolerance whilst in the guise of nuns

The site will consist of the horizon, and only the horizon.


Convent for the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

Convent for the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

Convent for the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

Convent for the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence


Mid semester review was conceived as a joint venture between the studio Dick Black! led by Dr Michael Spooner (RMIT University),  Hansel led by Peter Knight (Workshop Architects) & Sarah Merican (FenderKatsalidis Architects), and The Strange led by Emma Jackson (RMIT University).

The review was conceived as a ‘salon’ rather than formal presentations, and was comprised of a wallpaper of work, roving bands of critics and students, the odd drink or two, and a general atmosphere of celebration and conversation supported by infomercials created especially for the event by the architecture elective My Xmas Bonus led by Paul van Herk (McBrideCharlesRyan).

Thank you to all the students who attended and reviewed the work of the studio participants; the success of the event was entirely your making, with a special nod to Veronica Tan, Armani Jenkins, Elliot Webb, Bahman Andalib, Eleanor Tullock, Gretchen Wilkins, Jack May, Ben Inman, Will Heath, Anna Johnson, David Isaacs, William Brouwers & Dan Whelan.

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