Site-responsive architectural intervention, sound and light installation, film work, photographic works, and live performance.

DALISON is an architectural intervention and durational sound and light installation, created by Ian Strange in collaboration with musician Trevor Powers, resulting in four new photographic works, an 18-minute single-channel film work, and a one-off community performance.

The site-specific work was built around an isolated “hold out” home awaiting demolition at 20 Dalison Avenue, Wattleup, Western Australia. The home was one of two remaining in the former-suburb, where more than 300 others had been razed for a controversial redevelopment. Created with permission from the home’s former owners, the installation comprised a large-scale LED video screen, programmed lighting and Powers’ original 18-minute composition, transforming the home into a “performance” of slow, poetic light and sound movements.

The result was a form of “anti-concert”, transmitted out into the void of this now empty suburb. Over three nights, Strange documented this performance in film and photography. On the last night, a small group of the home’s former owners, ex-residents and collaborators were invited to an intimate one-off live viewing of the installation before it was dismantled. The photographic and film documentation also formed the basis of exhibitions and screening events throughout 2022, including FotoFocus Biennial, Cincinnati, USA, and UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China.

A dedicated project mirco-site can be found at dalisonproject.com

Photographic Works

Ian Strange Dalison 1 Final Photographic Artwork 72dpi 21 02 22

Dalison 1, 2022
Archival digital print
Documentation of site-specific intervention
Perth, Western Australia

Ian Strange Dalison 2 Final Photographic Artwork 72dpi 21 02 22

Dalison 2, 2022
Archival digital print
Documentation of site-specific intervention
Perth, Western Australia

Ian Strange Dalison 3 Final Photographic Artwork 72dpi 21 02 22

Dalison 3, 2022
Archival digital print
Documentation of site-specific intervention
Perth, Western Australia

Ian Strange Dalison 4 Final Photographic Artwork 72dpi 21 02 22

Dalison 4, 2022
Archival digital print
Documentation of site-specific intervention
Perth, Western Australia

Film Work

Ian Strange Trevor Powers DALISON film artwork still 0050
Ian Strange Trevor Powers DALISON film artwork still 009

Still frames from film work 'DALISON', 2022
Ian Strange and Trevor Powers
Single-channel film work,
2.40:1, Stereo Sound. 18m05s duration

Ian Strange Trevor Powers DALISON film artwork still 0040
Ian Strange Trevor Powers DALISON film artwork still 0080
Ian Strange Trevor Powers DALISON film artwork still 002
Ian Strange Trevor Powers DALISON film artwork still 007

Still frames from film work 'DALISON', 2022
Ian Strange and Trevor Powers
Single-channel film work,
2.40:1, Stereo Sound. 18m05s duration


Research + Process


ESSAY: 'Dalison' by Eva Hagberg
Originally published February, 2022


by Eva Hagberg

A year and a half ago, we bought a house. Well, we call it a house, because there’s something more solid, more permanent, about calling it a house—but really, of course, this being Brooklyn, it’s a condo. A week after we took possession, we dismantled the entire interior, took the walls down, ripped the floorboards up. We brought a friend over, walked in with only our flashlights to light the way. I saw piles of wood, nails everywhere, a darkened room, illuminated in spots with our iPhones. “This is ours,” I said. “No one can ever take this away.”

As Ian Strange’s work reminds us, that’s just not true.

Homes get taken away all the time, and because of multiple scales of event. Sometimes homes get taken away because of individual losses—foreclosures, job shifts, unforeseen tragedies—and sometimes they get taken away because of “opportunity” or “redevelopment.” And yet, despite knowing this, despite understanding that we have seen peoples’ homes get taken away, we still subscribe, so many of us, to the shared cultural fictions, constantly reiterated and replicated, around the solidity of a home, the absolute unshakable foundation (pun not intended) given a life by the prospect and reality of ownership. There must be a reason it’s called “home ownership,” not “house ownership.”

A project like artist Ian Strange and musician Trevor Powers’ Dalison—centered around a single house in a neighborhood in the town of Wattleup, Australia that once thrived and was home to more than 300 houses but that is now slated, tabula rasa, for new development (called redevelopment)—is at once a deeply emotive reminder of how fleeting what we think of as permanent actually can be, and a devastating testament to how hard we want to hold on. The project—which spans still photography, a site-specific installation done in collaboration with Powers, and a film—is at once a celebration of the house’s inhabitants, who refused to sell when everyone around them did, and a requiem for a place now lost.

Strange’s formal moves, most evident in the still photography that makes up one element of the piece as a whole—are at once precise and overwhelming. Each photograph captures the house, in a different color, framed against a video screen backdrop that also changes color. That backdrop—technically speaking, a large LED video screen that was erected as part of this site-specific installation—teaches the eye to see this image like a work of art, to suddenly recategorize and re-contextualize this modest home (house) as a work of formal and visual argument. The clarity of the backdrop, covering up the extended landscape of emptiness where we can guess that houses used to be, brings the formal elements of the house itself into high relief. We see the articulated gable; the windows in various levels of pixelated clarity. In Dalison 4, in which the house is red and the background is blue, the shape is rendered almost Monopoly toy-like. The photograph brings to mind the scale of Playmobil, of a dollhouse. In other words, no life happened here. Dalison 1, meanwhile, shot at dusk and positioning the house against a brilliant white frame of a background, gestures towards all the life that happened here. The shades are drawn and yet the eye is drawn inward. What could have happened behind those doors? What kinds of mornings, days, night, occurred?

What is the value, some might ask, of making art about an object—a house, a place of so much hope and history—when that object is about to be destroyed? That question underlays so much of Strange’s work, which is at once deeply grieving and relentlessly optimistic. Strange’s photography reminds us that there is beauty to be found in acknowledging what is happening, in looking directly at this moment, as well as gesturing towards everything that might have once occurred off screen. It is rare to encounter art that at once stands on its own as an almost entirely aesthetic exercise—Strange’s photographs ask us to think about formal issues such as framing, color, exposure—and that invites us to think, as if beginning to unravel ourselves from inside our own memories and futures, about why this house, why now.

It’s compelling to look at heroic stories like this. Of this holdout family, the Cukrovs, one of few who refused to sell their house when more than 300 others agreed, who stayed and stayed and stayed. Under Strange’s generous, formal, thoughtful, and inventive approach, the family become more clearly rendered, even when absent, than they would with a touching, telling news piece.

What this work invites us to remember is that nothing is guaranteed, nothing is certain, nothing is ever safe. But while that might feel like a devastating blow, it can actually be comforting. If we’re never ever completely at home, if we can never reach this eternal security, we can still encounter moments of engagement, and connection, and deep warm memory along the way. Strange’s work reminds us that home is an idea that’s not only not fixed, it actually needs to be static for us to be able to comprehend it. 20 Dalison Avenue is a real place, as so achingly rendered by Strange. It also never was.

Eva Hagberg is an author, educator, academic with expertise in architectural history, history of art, American Studies, and material culture, and public speaker. She teaches in the Language and Thinking Program at Bard College and at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University and holds a Ph.D: Visual and Narrative Culture from the University of California, Berkeley; an MS in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, and; an AB in Architecture from Princeton University. Her debut memoir, "How to be Loved", was published in February 2019 to overwhelming critical acclaim. Her architecture and design writing has appeared in the New York Times, Metropolis, Wallpaper*, and more. Her academic book, "When Eero Met His Match", is forthcoming Fall 2022 from Princeton University Press.


ESSAY: 'Home' by Jack Mitchell
Originally published February, 2022


by Jack Mitchell

Somewhere, we have a place that we feel is our home. Some conspiracy of rock and tree and earth and water, of snow or ice or sand that participates in the relational dynamics that produce our idea of home, and for most people that is a sacred place. This place is not just a location, a physical place, but a vessel for the pattern of behaviour that is our culture, for the performance of self and identity. It is where we love, where we celebrate, where we feel safe, where we enter the dreamworld. Home is the place that allows us to be and do all of this, and if that place is destroyed, or we are forced to leave it, there is grieving involved. That process makes us take what we have learned, what we have done and enacted, all that is sacred to us, and carry it in our hearts until we find a new place where we can put it down and start again. If we are lucky, we can leave for a while and feel the beautiful sadness of missing something or someone we know we can return to, not suffer the harrowing pain of permanent separation. For many, home is a distant memory carried into the present. For others it is wherever they can find warmth in a dystopian cityscape. Maybe some feel no connection to home at all, or only to its absence.

I’m sitting down to write this at a small farm on Wilman Nyungar boodja, 200-odd kilometres south of my family home of 29 years in the suburb known as Subiaco, in so-called Perth, Western Australia. This farm has become home for me whenever I am back home on Nyungar Country. At 34 years old, home for me has become more about how I relate to my extended family than my immediate, and this place is where we gather as a mob to perform our culture: parties, meetings, music, caring for Country all happen here. On my way here, I passed the suburb of Wattleup on Whadjuk Noongar boodja. There, at 20 Dalison Avenue, sits the old home of the Cukrov family—the subject of Ian Strange’s Dalison work. The Cukrovs lived there for 70 years, and for the past twenty held out valiantly against the inevitable process of industrial development by an illegitimate colonial power.

I locate myself and my identity in relationship to other people and place through language, which sits within a construct filled with implication and assumption. The language used to reference home is a colonial schema based on the system of private property ownership, peppered increasingly with words that come from the language born of this place; a process of colonisation in itself as the words are stripped of their true meaning, but an important alteration to a language that Country is only just now beginning to understand.

I’m referring to a house as a home, a structure that is collectively located through the private ownership matrix and the overlay of the static Cartesian grid onto an animate landscape, smothering the relational dynamics with real estate value. This “home” is referenced through a title deed, which is governed by the legal frameworks that regulate our society, which is essentially born out of (and within which the DNA remains) violent dispossession, land theft and genocide. This framework was subsequently populated by a variety of migrant stories, like that of the Cukrovs, who came from the former Yugoslavia—each with their own notions of home, their own memories, their own ancestries, all yet to properly calibrate with this place.

The city of so-called Perth is increasingly referred to as Boorloo, the Whadjuk Noongar name for the series of interconnecting wetlands and hills that surround what was once a freshwater river, with the salt of the ocean kept at bay by a sacred limestone embankment along the river mouth in the area known as Walyalup, or Fremantle. This separation was sacred to the Nyungar, and is now destroyed; blown up by industry to dredge the harbour, making the entire river salty. The adoption of Boorloo to name this place is important as a linguistic entrance into the deeper layers of place, of home, but the substitution of words within the language of the colonisers is not enough. We must understand what is meant by Indigenous place names to deepen our understanding of how to live here.

Unlike the static nature of the colonial linguistic structure—a blunt tool used primarily to justify ownership and conquest—indigenous relationship to home is relational and fluctuating. This is not only reflected in spoken language but in the patterns of movement across the land and its ever-changing conditions. For example, the border between Yamatji and Nyungar Country, five hours north of Perth, changes depending on the season. When the red dirt from the north coats the flats beneath the hills, it is Yamatji, but when the rains come and wash the red earth from the rocks, it returns to Nyungar country. This layering of fluctuating patterns determined our responsibilities, and the timing of those responsibilities, and linked us intrinsically and inescapably to that place. You didn’t own it, you were a part of it. There is nothing in the English language that can really describe this, because English is the language of property and industry, neat parcels of conceptual lines to divide and buy and sell. This is how we relate to place now.

Our cultural patterns are a language, how we live is the action of what we think and feel, and what we say refers to this. In this sense, how we live on this place is a form of language through which we communicate to the land below us, a rhythmic pattern of combined embodied linguistics that tell Country what we think of her, how grateful we are to be here, as well as the actual vibrational sounds we make with our tongue or the symbols we type on our screens. We stand and move and dance on this land, in every moment communicating our values with Country; and Country holds us, allows us to do this, supports our weight, our pain, our sorrow, and is a vessel for all our beauty and love and joy. Country holds us so that we can perform our notions of home. This place has been home to people forever, who have danced and sung and told stories of gratitude, of care, of love, of community, of survival, for thousands upon thousands of years. Forever.

Our relationship to home is fraught with layers of memory, especially if we are dislocated from it. The memories can be traumatic because of the existence and subsequent destruction of the sacred and the beautiful, the constant process of attachment and separation, with home our original reference point for all of it. If we are lucky we can heal and return. Many cannot. I am lucky to be able to come to this farm to heal and look after this Country. It recharges me to navigate the family home that is loaded with old dynamics, a home that sits about 200 metres from one of the most sacred places in the world. So called Kings Park was known by a few Nyungar names, including Kaarta-garup, Mooro-Kaarta and Kaarta Koomba, which all come from Kara, the Nyungar word for Spider, so it is called something like the place of the spiders. Although the king is no more, the spiders remain, reflecting a harmony of utility through the huge cultural change that is both tragic and hopeful. The entire Nyungar nation, covering an area similar in size to Ireland, would meet here for weddings, funerals, dances and ceremony since time immemorial. The same dances of place and animals, even if the stories may have changed and adapted, the same rhythms stamped out by bare feet and the same vibrational harmonic sound waves that were born direct from the land they speak to and protect. Now this place has cafes, rock concerts and a war memorial. People get married and picnic here. Culture is still performed, but for most who participate the real history is unknown, a collaboration of wilful ignorance and intentional erasure. It made it easier to colonise then, and the cultural undercurrents make it easier to perpetuate colonial rule now.

For better or worse, we now share this home, this place of communal culture, with everyone who resides here. Whether you arrived as a settler, a convict, a soldier, a government official, a migrant or have arrived recently as a student, worker or tourist, you are here, and you bring your notion of home with you. The layers of emotional complexity, the memories, the songs and stories. You bring your ancestry here and perform your culture as best you can within the framework of social order that perches somewhat precariously and certainly illegitimately on top of this land, very slowly beginning to become a part of it, very slowly beginning to speak the language of here, slowly translating each other’s myriad linguistic patterns.

For the Cukrov family, the home they built in Wattleup will be gone in physical form, living instead in the language, the memories, the behavioural patterns for which their house was a vessel. These patterns are in a sense immaterial, and can be translated to another place, to another home, but the Cukrovs will need to grieve. They will not only take their history of being here on Nyungar country with them but also the songs and stories of their Yugoslavian homeland, which is no longer a political entity but remains as Country, in all its changing patterns and relationships and languages. The places they’ve settled to make new homes will be on unceded Indigenous land, and they will be there as guests, as we all are. Country will be there, all around them, supporting them, as it is all of us; but as in any relationship, that support has to be mutual.

Jack Mitchell is a Perth-born, Melbourne-based designer, artist and researcher with Whadjuk/Balladong Noongar heritage. A graduate of Curtin Univeristy, Jack focuses on the complex cultural relationships that exist in our cities and architecture’s potential to support Indigenous culture. Jack was awarded the Creators Fund from Creative Victoria to pursue his project Blak, White and Bluespace, which investigates Indigenous cultural relationships to water and how the built environment can benefit from understanding these relationships.


ARTICLE: 'Ian Strange’s Dalison' by Cameron Bruhn 
Originally published in Houses, June, 2022

A beguiling, graphic and cinematic sensibility: Ian Strange’s ‘Dalison’

by Cameron Bruhn

There are compelling contradictions and complexities in the multidisciplinary artworks of Ian Strange. The Perth-born artist, who over the past decade has lived and worked in the USA and Australia, is known for his eerie explorations of domestic circumstances in crisis and decline. Strange depicts the darkness, disenfranchisement and disaster of emotionally and physically amplified living conditions with a beguiling, graphic and cinematic sensibility that simultaneously dislocates the viewer and monumentalizes the built artefact.

Strange returned to Perth in 2020 and spent the following two years working on Australian projects, including Dalison, a collaboration with acclaimed US musician and producer Trevor Powers. The site-specific performance work comprises a single-channel film, a four-part photographic series, a content-rich website and the short documentary “Making Dalison.” One of Strange’s most ambitious projects, this immersive, pulsating work has been realized at a time when the house has been the subject of unprecedented pressure: in the face of a global pandemic, the world’s populace rapidly shifted to working and learning from home, testing the limits of the domestic archetype and reimagining the suburban condition. Strange’s interpretive installation uses programmed theatre lighting and a stadium-sized video screen. This 260-square-metre scaffold, which functions as a giant green screen, enables Strange to confuse and augment the relationship between the building and its barren setting. “The idea of the project was to build this large-scale screen that would allow us to cut the house out of the landscape with light, to experience the home in shifting states of visibility, either silhouetted, isolated in darkness, or revealed in its vast, empty context,” says Strange. The atmospheric performance, which was documented over a period of three nights, is choreographed to Powers’ original 18-minute soundscape.

The hold-out house is a particularly fertile subject for Strange. He has engaged in a global study of these living conditions, generating thought-provoking works that probe the reasons people choose to stay in a house against all the odds – from the economic and political to the social and environmental. He observes, “In my work, I’m interested in universal and shared connections to the image of the home. These are places we tend to project with a sense of stability but are often more vulnerable and temporal than we would like to think. This is especially true in the experience of hold-out homeowners like those of 20 Dalison.” The beloved home of the Cukrov family for more than 60 years, the house – which will soon be demolished – is in the Perth township of Wattleup. The formerly vibrant suburb has been slowly subsumed by an industrial redevelopment that began in 1996, with more than 300 homes demolished and a corresponding destruction of community fabric and generational connections. In 2021, the abandoned number 20 Dalison Avenue and one other home were the last two remaining. Dalison thoughtfully pokes at the antagonism between the Australian home as an important site of memory and belonging, and the house as a realizable commodity that can be traded, developed and redeveloped.

With this work, Strange maturely signposts his place in the art of Australian suburbia after a sustained period of groundbreaking international practice. This national oeuvre includes the neon-powered blasts of Howard Arkley and John Brack’s broody depictions of the postwar optimism of the Australian suburbs. There is a prescient connection between Brack’s mid-century paintings of an emerging Australian suburbia and Strange’s most recent work. In works like Subdivision (1954), Brack drably depicts the scraped, bare earth of a newly cleared Australian landscape, freshly dotted with prosaic, brick-and-tile houses topped with pert, gable roofs. The houses that Brack enigmatically captured three-quarters of a century ago in their new-build state are the same ones that Strange depicts in his works. It is a disturbing tale of the rise and fall of suburbia, and Dalison is a powerful eulogy for a version of Australian life eviscerated by neoliberalism, consumerism and the seemingly unstoppable decline in housing affordability.


Professor Cameron Bruhn is the Dean and Head of School at The University of Queensland’s School of Architecture. Prior to this appointment, he was the editorial director of Architecture Media, where his role included the custodianship of the centenarian magazine Architecture Australia.

Bruhn holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Queensland and a practice-based PhD from RMIT University. He was a co-creative director of the 2015 Australian Festival of Landscape Architecture: This Public Life and the 2016 Australian National Architecture conference: How Soon is Now. Bruhn is co-editor of The Forever House, The Terrace House and The Apartment House, books published by Thames and Hudson. His most recent project is MMXX,a landmark volume for Thames and Hudson that documents significant architecture in Australia in the first two decades of the twenty-first century.



DALISON was created as a collaboration between artist Ian Strange and musician Trevor Powers, it was produced by executive producer Jedda Andrews, creative producer Emma Pegrum, and co-director Dominic Pearce. This work would not have been possible without the generous support of Jim and Gary Cukrov, as well as the former residents of Wattleup who were involved in the making of this work. Detailed information on the project can be found at the dedicated project micro-site www.dalisonproject.com.


Artist/Co-Director: Ian Strange
Artist (Score): Trevor Powers
Co-Director/Editor/Screen Content Designer: Dominic Pearce
Executive Producer: Jedda Andrews
Creative Producer: Emma Pegrum
Technical Producer: Paul Bilsby
Production/Site Manager: Matt Bairstow
Cinematographer: Daniel Craig (Matsu)
Lighting Designer: Riordan Hall-Jones
Camera Operator/Data Manager: Ben Berkhout
Camera Operator/Drone Operator: Dave Le May
Digital Imaging Technician: Joseph Landro
Sound Recordist: Jack Purkiss
Gaffer: Ed Martinez
Grip: Henry Richards
Grip/Gaffer Assistants: Joshua Robinson, Tana Glassock
Set Runners: Bailey Pascoe, Kaine Evans
Production Assistant: Taylor McCulloch
Head of Art Department: Steve Browne
Art Department Assistant: Lance Robinson
Graphic Design and Titles: Scott Mellor (Thinktank)
AV Supplier: Showscreens
House Modelling and Pre-Visualisation: Jamie Sher
Behind-the-Scenes Photography: Chris Gurney and Duncan Wright
Original Score: All music written, performed, and produced by Trevor Powers
Mixed by Jason Kingsland
Mastered by Heba Kadry

Co-Director: Dominic Pearce
Co-Director: Ian Strange
Producer/Writer/Story Editor: Emma Pegrum
Executive Producer: Jedda Andrews
Cinematography: Dominic Pearce and Daniel Craig (Perth, WA), Tyler Williams (Idaho)
Camera Operator/Data Manager: Ben Berkhout
Camera Operator/Drone Operator: Dave Le May
Sound Recordist: Jack Purkiss
Edited by: Steven Alyian and Dominic Pearce
Original Score (Making Dalison): Marc Earley

The artists and producers wish to thank Jim and Gary Cukrov, as well as the former residents of Wattleup who were involved in the making of this work.

This work would not be possible without the generous support of a number of individuals and organisations. Ian Strange and the producers extend a sincere thank you to Paul, Sophie, Holly and Katie Chamberlain; Nik Rogers; Adrian and Michela Fini; Nicky Coxon and Brent Rogers; Darryl Mack and Helen Taylor; Caroline Christie-Coxon; Tim, Chris and Maddie Unger; Graeme and Eva Morgan; Kamilė Burinskaitė; Al Taylor; Nathan Benett; Kyle Jeavons; Luke McKinnon; Miles Plumlee; Matt Murphy; Melissa and David Alder, and; Graeme and Iris Morgan. For their incredible support and collaboration, we also thank Bryce Varley at Showscreens; David Revill at TAFE WA; Tiki Menegola; Development WA; the City of Cockburn; Western Power, and; Patrick Abromeit at the Department of Transport.

The artists and producers of this work acknowledge the unceded lands upon which it is created, and from which we work. We acknowledge the Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation, the Traditional Owners of the land on which Ian Strange Studio operates in Naarm (Melbourne). DALISON was created on the traditional land of the Beeliar people of the Whadjuk Noongar clan. While this work explores social displacement occurring in the late 20th century, we acknowledge that the Beeliar Noongar people were violently dispossessed and displaced by colonisation before this, and that the ongoing impacts of colonisation, such as systemic racism, persist. We pay respect to First Nations Peoples as the first artists and storytellers to walk this Country and acknowledge their continuing connection to land, waters and culture.

[Selected Press]