(This is) Air: A conversation with Nic Brunsdon, Mark Jacques and James Ogilvie


Join us for an evening of discussion about the creation of the 2023 NGV commission by Nic Brunsdon – (This is) Air.


Titled for Nic Brunsdon's 2023 NGV Architecture Commission of the same name, (This is) Air is a book about one of the defining experiences of life on earth: breathing air. It is about air as matter to be harnessed and protected; air as agent; air as a tool of resistance and disruption. Bringing together new writing, process materials and photographic documentation, the book offers timely consideration of urgent ecological, civic and political questions about the relationship between architecture and experiences of air.

Brunsdon's installation, which has only just come down from public display, took the form of a large-scale sphere that inhales (inflates) and exhales (deflates) air in a natural rhythm – its total volume approximating the consumption of one human across one year. Eschewing typological norms and harnessing air itself as a building material, the work makes the invisible visible, felt and heard, and reminds us of our interdependency.

Join host and contributor Mark Jacques (Openwork) for a conversation with Brunsdon and project director James Ogilvie (ENESS) as they delve into their insights from the book and the making of the work itself, covering questions of site, materiality, engineering and technical innovation. A retrospective look at the commission process – from ideation and early design to realisation, reception and critique – this discussion will explore the nature and value of public architecture commissions, the nuances of concept development, design process and production, and the possibilities of self-starting as interdisciplinary practitioners. 


(This is) Air book cover

About the speakers

Mark Jacques is an urban designer and landscape architect. He graduated from the UNSW’s College of Fine Arts in 1994 and in 2015, was appointed Professor of Architecture (Urbanism) Industry Fellow within RMIT’s School of Architecture and Urban Design. He founded Openwork in 2016 as an office undertaking projects in public space, landscape architecture, urban design, research and speculation. In 2021, Mark was appointed to the inaugural Melbourne Design Review Panel and in 2022, he completed his PhD at RMIT. Mark is the author of the essay “The Zeitgeist of St Kilda Road” in (This is) Air.

Nic Brunsdon is recognised as one of Australia’s leading architects. In 2015, he was the sole winner of the Australian Institute of Architects Emerging Architect Award, firstly for Western Australia and then nationally. He is a past nominee for the 40 under 40 young business leaders award, a nominated thought leader for the City of Perth, and a founding Board Member of Activate Perth. He is the co-founder of Spacemarket, an urban program that pairs underutilised spaces with useful people. His eponymous studio has recently received recognition at the World Architecture Festival, Dezeen Awards and Australian Institute of Architects Awards.

James Ogilvie is the project and operations director at ENESS, a multi-award-winning art and technology studio specialising in interactive experiences for public, commercial and cultural entities. Pioneers of new media art, ENESS explores the intersection between the virtual and the physical world to ask questions about how we view cities and their spaces, and how art and technology can bind us together. James’ extensive background in project managing teams has delivered multiple projects in the built environment including complex kinetic sculptures and permanent public lighting installations. ENESS was the technical consultant for (This is) Air, and James worked closely on the project.


When: 6pm Thursday 25 July 2024
Bookshop by Uro, 5/30 Perry Street, Collingwood (Collingwood Yards)
 $5 - CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE - STRICTLY LIMITED – ticket price redeemable as a discount of book purchases