ii

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 'brutalist' 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 (The Rocks) whilst more influenced by the 'Metabolist' Japanese style design, still conforms to a similar architectural premise of the construction of social space. Established in the late 70s to provide public housing for working class residents who were at risk from eviction due to the redevelopment of the Rocks and Millers Points during the 'Green Bans' period. 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 such as SOS (Save our Sirius) worked hard to prevent this, but were overridden in favour of privatisation and hyper-development - a recurring theme regarding Sydney's state-owned buildings and public housing. In 2018, the last resident, 90 year old. Myra Demitrou departed Sirius. The great loss of Sirius is not its aesthetic, or architectural value, but the community and cultural way of life that the building housed - and the last remnants of a distinct working-class modality of being.

ii.

the road was yellowing. there was some abc drama-show celebrities at the colonially named pub on 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 dying flower, drying out in the moon light, in a cracked plastic flower box. 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. the last of which to see the ocean, cityscape, and harbour, and those purpled vistas on their own terms.

 

 

 

Houso-Dub (panels 1 & 2)

James Hazel (2020)

Text, phone photographs of Sirius Building, poster design