re: Public art lost for future generations

PUBLIC ART LOST FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS

By Roel Loopers August 20, 2018.

The initiative by the City of Fremantle and other local councils to introduce a percentage for the arts scheme has been good for WA artists and the public, but it comes with the risk that the lifespan of some of the artworks will be relatively short if they are attached to buildings.

Take the great Rick Vermey art within the LIV apartment building at Queen Victoria Street. Nowadays buildings are considered to last for about 50 years before being replaced by more modern structures, e.g. the Queensgate and Myer buidings at Kings Square. If the LIV buildings get demolished in 50 years that would also be the end of the Vermey artwork and that would be a real shame and a loss for future generations.

The same applies to the Loretta Grant artwork on top of the Quest Hotel in Pakenham Street and the round artwork on the building on the corner of Bannister and Pakenham streets by Tom Mueller.

The percentage for the arts scheme states that the requirement for a public art contribution can be waived by the City of Fremantle where the same value of artwork is incorporated in the development, clearly visible to the general public.

It worries me that many outstanding new artworks in Fremantle, created as percentage for the arts, will not be preserved because they are incorporated in a development and not free standing in the public realm. We have a duty to share our cultural riches with future generations!

https://freoview.wordpress.com/2018/08/20/public-art-lost-for-future-generations/

This is an interesting point about the short projected lifetimes of buildings. Fifty years doesn’t seem like a very long time to expect a building to last. But perhaps it does make sense: maybe the cost of building something to last 100 years (say) is more than twice the cost of building something twice? Or is it just a case of people now offsetting that cost onto people in the future?

I always feel sad when I see a building in Fremantle demolished. Not just demolished, but in the modern way of completely and utterly erasing its presence from the landscape: every skerrick of its fabric removed and the site raked clean and level. I know it’s easier to build new things that way, but it does seem to mean that there’s no accretion, no embedding of (small, incidental) bits of history in the places. Sometimes developers put an intentional relic in, like the weighbridge from the CSR refinery, but it just looks silly.

The awards night

Just home from the WA Heritage Awards, where the Freo Society won the community based organisation category (which surely they should’ve hyphenated?). Nice evening, jolly exciting—despite a fair bit of a gosh-this-is-middle-class-Perth feeling—makes me glad to be part of it nonetheless.

It was good to be there, also, because my grandmother Marnie (aka H. Margaret Wilson), won the inaugural state heritage award in 1992. It makes me miss her, and wish she were around to talk to about all this stuff…

Fremantle Society website

I have recently started helping to maintain The Fremantle Society’s website (fremantlesociety.org.au), and it’s reminding me of why I work in IT and of how much I’ve been missing being part of any greater endevour (with people, I mean, and working together for some purpose — as I once did with the Coop, for instance). There are fantastic, passionate, intelligent people involved, and more than that — there is something to believe in! I don’t mean that in any too-deep way: just that it feels like the Society is not only an incorporated-body-that-has-meetings, but rather something of a focal point for people who see and care about a certain historical/communal aspect of Fremantle.

I have many ideas about the website redevelopment. At the moment it’s technical stuff: deciding between Drupal, WordPress, MediaWiki, or something else, and the philosophical differences that software engenders (in the means of interaction and collaboration). I’ll post more, soon, about what we’ve been thinking about that. (I’m liking the idea of the division down the lines of there being The Fremantle Society, Inc. on the one hand, and the society of Fremantle on the other. The distinction between the incorporated body, and the actual built and social environment of the City that is the former’s raison d’être.)