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Empire of Melbourne

By Adrian Doyle, Blender Studios

Originally posted: April 8 2018

I have spent some of this month fixing up and re-doing the lanes at the north of the CBD.

We have been painting Lovelands and the Blender Lane. The lanes had begun to look messy and some of the art had been slashed by tags.

So we painted over the damaged artwork and added some much needed life back into the lanes.

The stencil wall at the back of the lane has nearly been covered. It was the last stencil wall dating back from 2001. Don’t worry, there was a couple of layers of anti-graffiti coating placed over the beautiful and important stencil wall before The Blender Studios moved out. So, one day many years from now, it can be cleaned and restored to its former glory.

Another project that I have been curating this month is a new Marvel Wall in Little LaTrobe St for about a month now.

It’s a great project and will slowly be built up with different images based on superhero images and painted by some of Australia’s best urban artists. At the moment there is a Phibs and Adnate piece that has just been completed and, over the next few months, they will be joined by other artists like Lister, Sirum and Heesco. It will be a great wall when it’s finished it will be an important addition to the CBD street art collection (now that Hosier Lane is basically finished).

Whilst I was dropping off paint and ladders I tried to enter via a newly-built lane at the back of the Empire development in the CBD on Elizabeth St and between A’Beckett St and Little LaTrobe. The laneway begins in A’Beckett and joins to Little LaTrobe via Literature Lane.

It is a handy way to avoid the construction in Little LaTrobe.

Anyway, there was a car parked in the middle of the laneway, so I parked behind it and started unloading and this lady having her smoke told me that I couldn’t park there. I said that I was just trying to get my car through to drop off stuff for the mural and that if there wasn’t a car parked there then I wouldn’t have to be in the lane.

I questioned someone who works for the company in charge of Empire. She informed me that the lane built behind the Empire was private and belonged to Empire. She said the car was always going to be parked there and that it was a private lane not to be driven through.

This got me thinking. I bet the Empire building project only got permission to create such a large and boring building because it was building a lane at the back of the development. The Empire project backs on to Literature Lane, which was basically destroyed because of the construction project.

So, I now spend some of my days trying to fix laneways and adding art to the Melbourne culture. Whilst the Empire and building projects like it just exploit Melbourne for all that its worth. People want to move to Melbourne because it’s an awesome and creative place with hidden laneways and amazing urban and fine art. So they milk the money off the culture of Melbourne, whilst giving nothing back.

I would like to know who is in charge of all these private lanes and why they are private. Please send me an email if you know, the people who keep lining their pockets at Melbourne’s expense need to be accountable.

If you think that these monolithic urban sculptures that help define the landscape of Melbourne are built for aesthetics or beauty you are wrong. Most buildings that have gone up in the boom are ugly and mundane and at best a celebration of mediocrity. They have been built for profit and nothing more.

Why are the people in charge letting this happen? When Melbourne is shit and everyone remembers the good old days, do you think that the people that built the Empire and buildings like it will care if Melbourne is cool or not. No, (like the people who allowed this to happen) they will be sitting on their yacht laughing with all their money after selling the culture of Melbourne.


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