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Lucien Alperstein


This paper is about Sedition, a barbershop located in Darlinghurst, Sydney. As well as operating as a barber, owner Michael Joyce is an artist and uses his shop as a studio. Joyce lets members of the local arts community use the space to exhibit work, conduct interviews, play music, dance and put on performances, generally free of charge.

The site is critically analysed through the lenses of modernity and postmodernity and when considered simultaneously the contrasting frames of reference serve to enhance our understanding of Sedition. Sedition can be seen as a microcosm for the present moment: both goal-oriented and irrational. Whilst seemingly incongruous or oppositional, understanding and appreciating the validity of both ideas of modernity and postmodernity in relation to the site allows us to understand not only the site itself but, by extension, the present moment.

Sedition can be broken down into two parts: Sedition the business, which details the barbershop aspect of the venue, and Sedition the cultural hub, an after-hours venue with no regard for clear direction or for turning a profit. Examined separately, the two sides correspond to metanarratives of modernity and the questioning of those same metanarratives respectively, as outlined by Lyotard in The Postmodern Condition (1997).

Examining business and hub side-by-side, whilst seemingly confusing, increases our understanding of the dichotomous nature of the site and serves to provide us with a means of understanding not only the site but the present moment in which we live, characterised by an unprecedented use of technology.

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