Mapping a Scene: The spatiotemporal dynamics of Post-Punk in Melbourne (1977-1983)



Shaun Busuttil

Project description

In this internship, I worked with Justin Munoz and Professor Rachel Fensham on a broader ACD-Engine (ACDE) project exploring cultural hotspots and local scenes in Australia and their changes over time. Nothing ever stays the same, and everything is always in motion – even music scenes. We decided to map the spatiotemporal changes of the Post-Punk music scene in Melbourne during the late 70s and early 80s which was localised, at the time, in St Kilda, Richmond, Carlton and, to a lesser extent, Fitzroy. To represent the spatiotemporal changes of the during 1977 to 1983 we decided to create a multilayer TLCMap. For our data, Justin scrapped using some custom code. We also drew upon existing data sets from the ACDE project – such as AusStage and Design and Art Australia Online (DAAO) – and mapped these as well. The reason we decided to focus on the period 1977 to 1983 was two-fold. First, through our research we discovered that this period was especially vibrant and gave birth to two influential music scenes in Melbourne: the Carlton Sound and the Little Bands Scene. These scenes, it has been argued, helped put Carlton, Fitzroy and St Kilda on the musical map of Melbourne. As these three areas were the focus of our research, we thought limiting our research to this particular time period would bear the most fruit. Second, it was during these years that Nick Cave’s “The Boys Next Door” and later “The Birthday Party” came to prominence. As the ACDE project was also interested in iconicity and influential cultural entities, we decided to focus on this period and trace the movement of this band through space and time to map their influence on the broader Melbourne music scene.

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