Despite it being in its fourth series I only just discovered a great NZ TV series on local art & artists called The Gravy, which screens on TVNZ channel 7 but is also streamable from their website. The series takes a theme for each episode and episode 2 of series 4 is focused on sound art – go watch it here
Phil Dadson is very well known for his unique instrument building dating back to the hugely influential performance group From Scratch in the 1980s (captured in the hypnotic short film/performance Drum/Sing by director Gregor Nicholas- YT: 01 02 03)
But this episode of The Gravy also explores his work on large scale ‘playable’ sculptures – the first three of which were commissioned & are located at the BRICKBAY vineyard and sculpture park, an hour north of Auckland… I have to go to Auckland at the end of January to record ambiences & some vehicle FX for my next film so will definitely make time to go check then out. But even more intriguing is the news that some of Dadsons sculptures which will be installed a bit closer to home; literally 5 minutes from my apartment!
As Dadson explains, these wind driven kinetic sculptures are to be installed in the Evans Bay waterfront, where the Wellington Sculpture Trust has already commissioned a series of wind driven public art works including Phil Price’s iconic Zephyrometer, Kon Dimopoulos’s Pacific Grass, Andrew Drummonds Tower of Light and Leon Van Den Eijkel and Allan Browns Urban Forest. I think public art contributes so much to the character of a city and Wellington is very fortunate to have such great works – I can’t wait to see & hear Dadsons work!
Two other local public artworks that I have not experienced are Andrew Drummonds Listening & Viewing Device and Len Lyes Water Whirler which was under repair last time I tried to visit it. Which begs the question of kinetic art – who maintains it? Sure having wind powered devices is an admirable feature for such a wind blown city as Wellington but as the excellent ‘Over the Net and On the Table’ blog explains: “Kinetic sculptures are the bane of public art museums with their I-won’t-start engines and is-that-metal-fatigue-I–see-before-me? fractures. Install one of these ADHD sculptures outdoors and you are talking repair to the power of ten. In Wellington – where we pitch sculptors up against winds that are world famous – there is a predictable ongoing repair cost for a bourgeoning family of outdoor works. The proposed amount to keep things spinning, turning and swaying on cue for 2007-08 was $50,000 (but that was the estimate made in 2003, the last time the Wellington City Council updated its Asset Management Plan for outdoor public sculpture).”
Well, all I can say is its money well spent compared with the funding black hole otherwise known as the 2011 Rugby World Cup, with a projected $10 billion deficit… TEN.BILLION.DOLLAR.DEFICIT! It better not be my taxes paying for it!!!