Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Fanfare For The Common Man?

Chaneys Corner is on Christchurch's Northern Motorway, just south of the Waimakariri Bridge.
At that point, a motorway offroad links to Main North Road and takes vehicles down Marshland Road and into the CBD. In morning traffic, it's very congested - so much so, that the council last year installed extra 'merge' precautions, and Transit NZ added more traffic-cams. The Chaney's area will also be the branch point for the new Northern Arterial Route and the Western Belfast Bypass.
So I question the mental state of the Christchurch City Council's Public Art Advisory Group that approved the installation of a huge public art piece RIGHT ON THAT JUNCTION!!!
Fanfare is a large-scale work by Chch artist Neil Dawson (he of Chalice fame). Fanfare is 20m in diameter (!!), 25 tonnes and is covered by 360 separate 1m-round wind-powered 'pinwheels' (all independently attached and lit up for special occasions on the calendar). So, methinx lots of colour, lots of spin, lots of dazzle...and a helluva lot of motorist distraction!!!
Fanfare was originally commissioned by Sydney, Australia, for its 2005 New Year celebrations. It was raised from a barge at midnight and suspended from its Harbour Bridge for three weeks. Then in 2007, Sydney (seemingly in a generous gesture!) gifted it to Christchurch and cleverly cleared its books of it.
What we may see, southbound from the Waimak.Bridge

Now this monster bauble is being installed beside the northern entrance to the city. Total asset cost: $3.3 million. Total installation cost: $350,000 - nearly completely raised now, from donations. Thank God this crippled city's ratepayers didn't have to pay for this!
But the question remains: what about driver distraction? There'll be those who'll want to pull onto the road shoulder to take photos, or drive slower to gawk. There may even be reflections of light, dazzling motorists' eyes.
I'm sure Fanfare will look very pretty...but at a time when poor driving and motorist distraction (resulting in road accidents and deaths) is high in the public's priorities, this all points to an appallingly bad decision about its location.

PS: "Fanfare for the Common Man" is a musical work by US composer Aaron Copland, used in many forms around the globe.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think it could be a beautiful asset, but perhaps somewhere in Hagley Park would have been a safer option.