The Housing Question
The Housing Question is a collaborative video work by Helen Grace and Narelle Jubelin that takes its title from Friedrich Engels’ seminal 1872 texts addressing the severe housing shortages in his native Germany. After nearly 150 years this question remains central to contemporary social and political debates.
Grace and Jubelin explore these issues through two exemplary modernist homes: Harry and Penelope Seidler’s house in Sydney’s Killara (1967), and Casa Huarte (1966) in Madrid by José Antonio Corrales and Ramón Vázquez Molezún. The two houses are almost exactly contemporary statements in modernist architecture, made thousands of kilometres apart in markedly different nations and political circumstances. Yet despite their dissimilar contexts, the Australian and Spanish architects shared globally influential aspirations to create more equitable societies through the provision of excellent and widely available housing. Both architects created important social housing projects.
The focus on the two houses, in Australia and in Spain, leads to considering modernist town planning and mass housing more generally, the role of social housing, and, importantly, the urgent issues surrounding access to shelter, given today’s movements of refugees and asylum-seekers. Rich in historical imagery and intimate footage of both houses, The Housing Question connects broad social issues with the personal and emotional impact of modern and contemporary ideas about house and home.
A Geelong Gallery exhibition