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Byron Shire
May 17, 2021

The sculpture – taking responsibility

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Neil Matterson, Byron Bay

Who should take responsibility for the fiasco of the ill-fated sculpture at the industrial estate roundabout? A satisfactory answer may never appear but I’m sure, we the ratepayers, will bear the cost.

However, I can’t believe that the two main entities, the artist and the council (art committee), missed what was an obvious consideration when planning this sort of a project.

I believe that the sculpture was always slated to be positioned on the roundabout so among one of the first questions then is how is this piece going to be viewed?

The answer, in this case, is mostly from a vehicle travelling at 20 to 50 kilometres an hour. So the first consideration is to design something that can be viewed in its entirety from a distance as one approaches the roundabout so that when vehicles reach the roundabout drivers are not distracted by the fine details.

The birds on the sculpture did not fit that criterion. It is only when you are going around the roundabout that they can be viewed with some definition.

Prior to that they appear as twisted tinsel. It appears it’s a miss for not considering the design brief (if there was one), it’s a miss for road safety, and a miss for understanding the appropriate appreciation and viewing of public art.

Fine details on public art are for areas of foot traffic (ie in a park). This is a consideration that surpasses the need for it to be liked. It appears that no-one, artist or Council, thought of this!

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