Sean Dockray - archive / Staging the Windsor

Staging the Windsor

site-specific audio-essay installation, 2014, Melbourne

After reading all of the historical panels and viewing the interpretive displays on the ground floor of The Windsor Hotel, I sat down in the lobby to consider what I had seen. I was most intrigued by the stories of renovation and ownership changes, and how these reflected social, political, and economic changes over the past 130 years. Thinking about one of the renovations, where careful research was done to match patterns, colors, and manufacturing techniques, I imagined how the workmen would see the simultaneity of this history as they sanded through the layers of paint. Because I was sitting for quite a while, I observed waves of people coming and going, and employees moving from one task to another or finishing their shifts. I found myself listening to the questions people asked at the counter, or the small chat they were making as they waited for a table, or the ways that workers would talk when there were no guests around. It occurred to me that those layers of paint, revealed by sanding, might be a model for the experience of listening in the lobby.

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