Friday, 25 March 2005

Statuary Friday

ok, here's my project: or perhaps it's a meme: though I doubt anything qualifies as a meme if only one person is onto it. Well, anyway, every Friday I'll do a different piece of sculpture selected from the vst numbers littered around lovely Melbourne. My only criteria are: it must be outdoors, it must be more or less permanent, and it must be in a publically accessible location. (Suggestions, especially for sculpture in the 'burbs, are very welcome.)

#1: Stainless Steel Balls and Duck Group
Entrance, Northland Shopping Centre, Murray Road, Preston

This would have to be one of the more potentially dangerous pieces of public art around. It is always being climbed upon and sat on and slid down and jumped off, and one day, you can bet on it, a kid is going to split its head open on the concrete. I think the perpetual clambering may also be the reason why the surfaces are so smooth and buffed-looking; it's far and away the cleanest-looking thing at Northland.

The sculpture is not very old - I believe it was put in around about three years ago. Originally, this group was a wet sculpture. Gouts and jets of water spurted, unpredictably, from out the top of the metal balls and from out of ground-level spigots flush with the cement. On hot summer evenings hyperactive kids would giggle and scream and run between the jets, and inevitably get bucketed; their parents never looked like they were overly enthusiastic about the idea.

All the fun came to an end, however, when we got our water restrictions, and all of Melbourne's fountains were shut off. Ironically, this took place only about three months after the sculpture group was installed. Now, it's just a very shiny lawsuit waiting to happen.


Scrivener said...

Very cool scultpures. I'd imagine they were even more dangerous when water was flowing, no? Cause I doubt the kids quit climbing on em just because the fountain was on.

One thing I miss about living in NY was the public art like this just plopped down all over the place. In Atlanta there's a Calder statue outside the High Museum and that pretty much describes the catalog for the city. Unless you count billboard advertising as sculpture.

Lucy Tartan said...

The water wasn't on long enough to really make a judgement on that, but yeah, I'd imagine so.

I love statues and we have some beauties in this city. No Calders, though, and of course, nothing that really compares with things to be seen in New York. I like the big ship thing on the corner of Central Park.
Is there much Olympic junk lying round Atlanta, still? The Olympics held at Melbourne in 1956 haven't left much permanent trace, but what there is, is delightfully kitsch.

Scrivener said...

There's a cool park in midtown, with fountains like what you describe in this post--just small holes in the cement that shoot out water. In the summer, there're always lots of kids playing in the water. Other than that, not so much. Georgia State U got some dorms.