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.

CSR memorial weighbridge
CSR memorial weighbridge (2018-04-14): The weighbridge deck set into the road on Colonial Gardens in Mosman Park.

Wiki Wednesday

Because I never make the time elsewhere to get anything done, I have decided to schedule in an hour or so — just a tiny bit of time, but regular (and here I am, for the second time) — every Wednesday afternoon at the local library, to focus on Wikimedia stuff. Not that I’m very active, and who knows if I’ll succeed in getting anything done; but I’d like to. There’s a whole number of things I want to work on. This plan for QR codes in Freo is spurning me on for one, but today it’s just Geffrard that I want to focus on…

The Geffrard was a ship that sunk south of here in 1875, and my great-great-great-uncle was her master at the time. We (my mum and me, that is; she’s become rather a dedicated genealogist in the last year!) are gathering more and more sources, and soon there will be enough to write something up (whether notable or not, I dunno). Right now, we’re transcribing the inquiry into the shipwreck on Wikisource. So I’ll get cracking on with that…

* * *

Power point in the Freo library with a sign hanging over it prohibiting use for personal equipmentExcept! :-( Except that the library’s wifi seems to be failing me, and (worse) my battery is flat and this place doesn’t provide a single power point for laptops. I think that’s a shame. I mean, I know there’s some arguments around about libraries being places for books, and quiet reading, and whatnot… but really, I’d far rather they were places of general learning and exploration and intellectual inquiry and… well, y’know… all that. It seems that a library full of laptops (and this one, tonight, is just that; I counted eight just now when I went looking for power) is a pretty great thing; certainly on a par with a library full of noisy children (and this one is also that). So, are they just looked on as ‘distractions’? Or we don’t want the place filled up for twelve hours a day with pauper uni students looking for free wifi and some warmth? Or is there some OH&S ruling lurking somewhere? If I had my power cable tested and tagged, would that let me in?! Surely, nerding it up in libraries should be encouraged — it’s far cheaper, if nothing else, than the library service supplying all of these computers itself.

Anyway, don’t let me rant on about that. I’ll get back to preparing some scans of our captain’s Masters Certificate for upload to Commons, and I’ll be back next week with a full battery!