Pen is mightier than the lamp

stories by DAVID BELL:

BIG lamp out, big pen in. A controversial artwork has finally been chosen for the even more controversial unit/office development at 1 Albert Street in North Perth.

The artist’s first attempt, a 300kg lamp, received a thunderous thumbs down from locals with 16 of 20 submissions opposing Robin Yakinthou’s piece. A split Vincent council asked the artist to come up with something more fitting.

Yakinthou drafted up a giant Phoenician coin jutting from the earth, along with a big pen writing “I think, therefore I am”.

The developer liked the coin but the arts advisory committee picked the pen, with most councillors (except Matt Buckels and Laine McDonald) agreeing it better related to the neighbouring school.

The $63,000 artwork is paid for by developer and landowner (the Rigoli family) under the council’s per cent for art scheme.

Nearby neighbour Craig Willis is still shocked the council approved the entire project in the first place, saying construction is making life hell.

He told the chamber, “I wake up every morning at 6am with workers looking into my bedroom”.

Work isn’t supposed to start before 7am but Mr Willis says he hasn’t lodged a complaint about the breaches because he just wants it finished.

He told councillors “you’ve let us down” by approving the project in February 2012.

At a previous meeting Mr Willis suggested an alternative design for the public art project: A big poo, which reflected his thoughts on the design.

He pointed out the council had spent more time consulting on the artwork than it had on the actual building.

Cancel consultation: Mayor

VINCENT mayor John Carey says the council should stop consulting the community on public art.

“Quite frankly, we shouldn’t consult on public art… it doesn’t make sense,” he says.

“We have a great arts advisory committee with substantial expertise that are very good and we should listen to their advice. 

“When you put public art out for community consultation, you get six billion different responses, and is anyone particularly right?

“But we can rely on our arts advisory committee who can tell you how a particular work can fit to a particular location.”

Cr Matt Buckels pointed out that going with the committee’s recommendation would have seen the lamp approved.

Mr Carey says the council should focus consultation efforts on the most important issues.

“Let’s focus on what the community is concerned about: That’s not public art, that’s the future development of our city and the rise of larger multi-dwellings in residential areas.”


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