art in the public space lectures

this week is the first of a three-week intensive for the start of my masters in public art. it’s based around a series of presentations/discussions from a variety of speakers from the industry and related fields. i thought i might subject you to some of my notes from the last few days and also keep it up for the next few weeks. especially ‘cos some of the speakers we’re having are fantastic.

almost the worst photo of CH2 you could possibly hope for.

mick pearce

UK Zimbabwean architect responsible for CH2. how’s that – i post about how much i love the place two days ago and i end up chatting with the guy in a back street of carlton.

uses the animal kingdom and insect-based systems as inspiration for heating/cooling architecture, using the natural resources of the earth. also heavily influence by pre-industrial architecture from tribes and early civilisation.

book to check out: architecture without architects.

difference of opinion regarding ‘sculptural’ architecture a là gehry’s bilbao, feels that function is being squeezed out of architecture by the desire for creative expression.

found that building the eastgate development in harare didn’t get him invited back. african man wants the building that the white man has. which prompted some discussion after class about the ‘karma’ that western modern architecture has to play in promoting the idea of status and excess, which is still on the upward rise in developing nations.

floating cities – looking at developing civilisations on the water, like in holland, to respond to rising sea levels and to reduce impact on ever-reducing land. oil tanker to be used for natural pump using tidal rise and fall.

collaborated with artists from the get-go. found it vital for creating aesthetic manifestations of ideas and philosophies. they asked lateral questions ‘that engineers wouldn’t ask’. not sure if he’s all that into it as an idea – especially as i referenced ai weiwei and du meuron and he wasn’t so fussed.

drawing is still the first stage of development and was a language that architects and artists could easily communicate across. sees computerised technology as an adjunct to the design and creation process, but not the only stage. certainly not the first instance.

here’s a transcript of an interview he did on catalyst
here’s the archiplanet wiki entry
other images of the building: flickr
and the wiki on the eastgate development, harare

tomorrow i’ll do ian de gruchy, mick douglas and others.

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my favourite building

every day i walk down ridgeway place, past the old establishment – the melbourne club, and my current favourite building in the whole word:

i liked it… and then this turned up.

then i positively loved it.

yesterday morning, i walked past and there was a couple of a well-dressed chaps with clipboards outside it. so i asked them what the building was: consulate for monaco. of course!

so, my favourite building is now officially the consulate of monaco in melbourne. there you go.

UPDATE: I found a great post on richard’s blog here and some more info here. i also stole this pick from richard’s blog. i hope he doesn’t mind too much – it’s a much better view than the crap one from my phone:

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public art, public opinion: the fourth plinth

The kids over at the We Made This blog have done a great post on the Fourth Plinth project happening in London’s Trafalgar Square. It’s a public sculpture project, with a shortlist chosen by experts, exhibited at the National Gallery and open to consultation with the public. Luckily, it’s in London and has the involvement of the National and the Mayor of London/GLA, making it somewhat more refined and educated than something with audience participation like that would end up being here (think Australian Idol vs The Archibald).

Which i think is a bit of a shame, really. Seeing as work is created with public funds and is in the public domain, having the public take some ownership of it by having a say in its selection makes sense. In theory.

The reality here is that a larger proportion of the Australian population don’t give a fuck about art, don’t know anything about it, don’t want to even consider paying for it out of their precious possible-loan-repayment money and don’t listen when it is explained why good public art makes a difference to a city.

Which is such a pity, because there is a dearth of good public art sculpture out there (especially in Melbourne, a city brimming with good sculptural artists) and as discussed in a recent (suprisingly decent) Australian Art Review article, those responsible for commissioning the works are largely bureaucratic, unaware and narrow minded. Imagine if the process became a collaboration between curators, museums, artists and an appreciative public, like the Fourth Plinth project? This city’s reputation for public sculpture could almost match its reputation for street art, fine art, music, culture and general funky goodness.

Oh and as much as I would love to see a family of Trace’s meerkats hanging out on the plinth at Trafalgar Square, I’m going for Jeremy Deller’s Spoils of War. Register your opinion over here if you like.

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public protection

has anyone else noticed that Brett Whitely‘s Matches outside Agnes Wales have had some ‘work’ done?

shit photo of the matches, protected by a blue tarpaulin, unprotected by copyright. taken by my crappy camera phone as a test for moblogging, which doesn’t work for me yet

here are my speculations for why the ‘used’ match looks the way it does:
1. it’s been wrapped by a very cheeky artist so that the match looks like a dick wrapped in painful ‘protection’ of sorts, to draw attention to safe sex.
2. it’s been wrapped by the sydney festival as a shithouse way to include the work in the festival as a way to appease visual artists who have been ripped off by a shit program this year.
3. it’s been wrapped by council types to avoid further damage from something or other, in the interest of ‘public safety’.
4. it’s been wrapped by a cheeky artist-type to draw attention to public art and the purpose it serves in our day-to-day living.

to protect and to serve

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