Isabella Darcy: Luxury & Labour
Disneyland Paris opened in May this year and is likely Melbourne’s newest gallery. Although gallery is more of a proxy word. The space is located in a disused serviceman’s restroom—AKA toilet—on the ground floor of the Thornbury block of flats where its founder, David Attwood, lives. In decades gone, planning law dictated that residential blocks of a particular size include a separate toilet and basin for visiting tradespeople, presumably to maintain the separation of the classes. Thornbury, once a working-class environ, has not been immune to artists moving in, bringing with them the gentrification that drives up rental and prices. In this case, even the tradie toilet is vulnerable to the art community’s middle-class tastes. Having said that, the space also serves as a prime example of arts workers’ resourcefulness during increasing economic austerity and, as such, it exists as an opportunistic response to that same middle-class bulge.