Dr Matthew Bird
Dr Matthew Bird is a practising Architect and Senior Lecturer within the department of Architecture at MADA, Monash University Melbourne.
Matthew is an architect and artist with an interdisciplinary spatial practice of sculpture, installation, scenography, photography, interior design, architecture and site-specific interventions. Matthew has exhibited commissioned works at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Festival, MONA, 15th Venice Architecture Biennale, McClelland Gallery and MPavilion. His practice is recognised with numerous honours including a Green Room Award, Australian Interior Design Award and an Australian Institute of Architects VIC Award.
Matthew has established a spatial practice that does not conform to a specific discipline, rather he has established an experimental reputation with projects that transcend expectation, materialising in and outside of convention. Matthew embraces risk openly yet with considered rigour via an inventive process of reimagining ideas, symbols and materials to create interactive multifaceted worlds that offer meaning and complexity. Traversing visual art, design, architecture and performing arts plateaus, Matthew’s immersive creations are the result of a progressive, rigorous and highly experimental interdisciplinary process.
International artist residencies and field research have shaped Bird’s practice. Venues include: The Centre de Création Chorégraphique, Luxembourg; the Herberger Institute for Design+Arts, Arizona State University; and the Arkitektskolen in Aarhus Denmark.
Matthew’s practice Studiobird is an armature for his academic tenure at Monash University where he introduces students to speculative design practices, engages with industry led partnerships and realises a strong and distinct research portfolio.
Sarcophagus invites audiences to experience an immersive environment of simulated sleep-states. This multidimensional architectural installation renders creative curiosities of biological and induced respite, challenging a range of aesthetic, cultural and behavioural concerns. Users are invited to physically occupy the installation offering an unusual interactive experience. The environment is dynamic with the interior transforming with the aid of a multichannel film, filling the intimate chamber with abstract cinematic and meditative sound and imagery.
Installation realised by architect Matthew Bird (Studiobird). Film produced in Blairgowrie, Australia with Lillian Steiner (performance artist), James Wright (cinematographer) and JD Franzke (composer). Project supported by Monash University and the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.
Text: Michael Spooner
Studiobird’s bar responds to the nightclub as a key site of the Fashion Design Council (FDC)'s legacy. It has been designed to accommodate interactive program-based activities around, within or upon it through the duration of the exhibition, with conversations and fashion presentations as well as functioning as an actual bar from which to serve drinks. Matthew Bird’s selection of materials – aluminum sheeting, LED strip lighting and fans – builds upon his design research, which seeks to subvert notions of traditional luxury by using everyday materials to test and expand upon a contemporary ‘DIY baroque’ and, in turn, references the rapid and responsive aesthetic of early FDC activities. The shiny surfaces and coloured lights, designed in collaboration with Caitlyn Parry, reflects a notional 1980s bar with a sunken central zone for the bar tender. The bar-in-the-round design flips the seedy strip joint with its high-low stage / seating, while also hinting at the intentional inclusivity of the United Nations forum – a deliberate clash of references to capture the FDC’s dark and exhilarating nighttime gatherings with what were also – towards the end of the FDC’s life – stadium-scale, fashion block-buster events.
Words: RMIT Design Hub
In this MProjects specially designed for MPavilion 2017, artist and experimental architect Matthew Bird will transform MPavilion into an interactive installation, inviting audiences to experience an immersive and performative encounter with the afterlife. Multidimensional in nature, this is an installation that seeks to challenge aesthetic, cultural and behavioural concerns, rendering Bird’s creative curiosities of esoteric and metaphysical space.
The installation will be composed of a celestial field of reimagined bells that will produce chance and compositional harmonies, will invite playful audience manipulation, and will culminate in a series of commissioned performances in collaboration with composer Daniel Von Jenatsch, choreographic artist Phillip Adams and fashion designer Pia Interlandi. This visual and sonic installation will transform MPavilion into a spirited and experimental instrument with the aim of creating a responsive, transcendent and nondenominational performance dialogue with the hereafter.
Programmed around this immersive installation are a series of twilight performance encounters, a public talk and the launch of Monash University’s newly formed urban research lab ‘The Afterlives of Cities’, with Matthew Bird; astrophysicist Daniel Price; architect and urbanist Charity Edwards; and architect and VR expert Tom Morgan. Over the course of its (after)life at MPavilion, seven local, emerging and established performers will activate the installation: Emma Riches, Tom Woodman, Rachael Wisby, Luke Fryer, Ben Hurley, Pia Lauritz and Timothy Walsh.
Dormitorium is the latest interactive sculptural project by Melbourne-based architect Matthew Bird. Acclaimed for his progressive and experimental methods, Bird draws across and unites numerous creative disciplines from architecture and interior design to installation art, photography and performance.
In the lead-up to this exhibition, Bird’s research has led to an extensive exploration in the changing traditions of bedchamber aesthetics and the potential these spaces have to profoundly affect the way we rest and rejuvenate. Bringing together these ideas, Dormitorium is presented as a communal sleep chamber and exploratory environment that encourages audiences to engage with a complexity of sensory propositions, from textures and materials to the immersive effects of moving light and sound technologies.
Dormitorium has been created in collaboration with Respiratory & Sleep Disorders Physician Dr Marcus McMahon from Austin Health and Professor Shantha Rajaratnam and Professor Sean Drummond from Monash University’s Sleep Program, Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences. With contributions from architect and designer Caitlyn Parry, choreographer/ performance artist Phillip Adams and choreographer/ dance artist Shelley Lasica.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. This project is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.
• By Studiobird & Mark Richardson Designer/ Maker
Hydronaut is a semi-permanent, demountable structure housing an armament of security staff at the northwest edge of Monash University’s Caulfield campus. The building occupies five parking bays on the ground level of an existing car-park and provides a panopticonic point-of-presence in a location known for its security challenges.
True to its imperatives for semi-permanence and waste minimisation, the structure’s nine tensegrity exterior modules are tent-like. These are hand crafted from waste PVC truck side curtains stretched over tensioning frames made from exercise trampolines, discarded steel storage racks and reused stud framing. Marked by prominent portals, the façade’s mirrored circular windows accentuate a camera monocle motif. Inside, peephole portholes punctuate walls lined with reject perforated-ply acoustic panels. Separate interior spaces are visually connected by bespoke joinery truncating towards an armour-screened control counter at the bow.
Conceptually the project draws reference from social theories of Jeremy Bentham’s late eighteenth century panopticon penitentiary; the privileged watchman conceivably surveying all with wood-be hoodlums questioning who is watching. The voyeur’s peephole, marine binoculars, the telescopic camera lens, Checkpoint Charlie, submersible vehicles were further concepts explored. Hydronaut surfaces as an investigation into interdisciplinary practice with a vigilant but playful built result.