Sculpture chiselled

A $20,000 public art project was last week put on hold by the Perth City Council, rejecting the proposed piece after months of community consultation.

The piece consisted of four steel sculptural forms that played sounds of the area and was planned to enhance the section of Hay Street between Hill Street and Bennet Street.

And while the sculpture and sound piece was found to be innovative and exciting by a community working group, it did not win the support of the council.

Business News was told by the PCC we could not photograph a model of the proposed sculpture.

Perth Lord Mayor Peter Nattrass said there was no enthusiasm for the sculpture and the council was not happy with it.

“People would rather see public art that is life-sized and interactive, that they can sit on or stand next to or hold on to,” Dr Nattrass said.

“The kangaroos on St Georges Terrace … is an example of a good public art project … the tram lines we laid in the Hay Street mall were not a successful public art project.

“It is no good spending the money if we are not happy with it.”

The project has been in the works since 1999 and is part of the city’s Public Places Enhancement Strategy.

Nineteen local artists submitted expressions of interest and of these, four were chosen to continue on to expand on the design concept and produce scale models of their pieces.

Paul Caporn and Brad Cole devised the idea of lining the street with four steel sculptures based on the architectural decoration of the federation-style buildings in the area.

It was proposed that around each sculpture would be quartz paving with symbols and texts to represent a part of the historical story of the street.

Each form was also planned to incorporate sounds of the area, such as tram bells or horses hooves, which would be played through an amplifier, randomly activated by a movement sensor.

In a report to council, services unit director Gary Dunne said the forms would provide visitors to the street with an interesting continuity.

“In an area which acts as a joining zone between the city and the newly established East Perth area, this work will be viewed as an innovation and an exciting exploration of new technologies and the interactive experience of public art,” Mr Dunne said in the report.

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