Michael Goldberg
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REAL ESTATE
1997
Tusculum House, Sydney, historic house managed by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects.

Tusculum was one of the first villas on prestigious Woolloomooloo Hill overlooking Sydney, built on the 1830s land grants allotted to government officials and wealthy entrepreneurs.

As Governor Darling stated in 1830, 'The siting and design of the residences on the land grants were to be carefully orchestrated if they were to provide an example and chastisement for the debased populace of Sydney Town.'

Real Estate examined the colonial adaptation of neo-classical villa design and speculated on its hegemonic resonances. These resonances were explored with reference to the contemporary Australian realty market and to what Edward Said referred to as the twentieth century inversion of the 'business of Empire' into 'the empire of business'.

The installation was located in the five cellar rooms below the house and featured a computer supplying print-outs with fifteen years of real estate transactions and updates concerning some one thousand residential and business properties which today comprise the original Tusculum land grant. Viewers could also spend time in a room listening to motivational tapes on self-improvement and wealth production. Display cases were devoid of artefacts, and contained instead contextual history panels.

'A whole history remains to be written of spaces which would at the same time be the history of powers-from the great strategies of geo-politics to the little tactics of the habitat.' Michel Foucault, The Eye of Power.