Dub Housing was the name of the 1978 Album by Pere Ubu - an American, experimental post-punk band. They devised the title when viewing the Le Corbusier inflected architecture of public housing in Baltimore. Many of these designs feature rows of brutalist towers, possessing many parallel windows - what the band referred to as a "visual echo" akin to the use of delay and reverb effects in Jamaican dub music.
The 'Sirius' building, whilst a variation of this design, still conforms to a similar architectural premise of the engineering of social space. And in many ways, through policy and media, public housing tenants are often absurdly constructed as akin to data ghosts (or coded-out entirely) without identity or agency - entirely bypassing the lateral, cultural terrains of working and underclass life. I have seen the stigma this causes - particularly towards members of my own family when they we had to deal with Housing NSW.
The photographs in this panel and the next were taken in the period after the building was vacated via the eviction of all residents - many of them elderly and vulnerable - so that the State Government could sell the land to opportunistic developers. Many public interest groups tried to prevent this, but were overridden in favour of privatisation; a recurring theme regarding Sydney's state-owned buildings and public housing.
Houso-Dub (panels 1 & 2)
James Hazel (2020)
Text, phone photographs of Sirius Building, poster design
the road was yellowing... there was some B-grade celebrities at the colonially-named pub in the Rocks drinking craft and well-supported beer...
the Sirius building stood there & i just below from it. all the lights were off (bar one at the top), and there were little papers in each
apartment square, with different little numbers
i saw a flower bulb drying out in the moon light
(in a cracked plastic flower box)
the last of which to see the ocean, cityscape, and harbour, and those purpled vistas on their own terms...
and i felt really sad for all of the evicted magnificent "housos" - as you would like to call them (but fail to box them as such)