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Byron Shire
May 18, 2021

The Disco Dong

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It appears the fate of the colloquially and unfortunately known sculpture, ‘Disco Dong,’ is sealed. It is to lie flaccid in the council tip. 

Like Oliver Dunn (Echo Aug 28) this is not a letter of total support for the sculpture but I feel it was never given a chance to find an appropriate ‘plinth’ of land to sit on. Most probably it was a great idea on paper but didn’t translate to the third dimension let alone be an appropriate welcoming embodiment of Byron straddling the industrial estate roundabout. It appears failure to recognise these criteria lies with both the artist and the council.

Construction should not have started on this basis. 

Social media I also think played a part in sealing its fate as criticism on that front is easy to confect and exaggerate.

Faux outrage can take on a disproportionate degree of reasoned argument. 

In one aspect the sculpture is not alone in history. Michelangelo’s David, Rodin’s Balzac and even Ron  Robertson-Swan’s Vault,  (Yellow Peril ) in Melbourne received their share of public outrage.

These are a mere few examples of the angst of producing public sculpture. But each one of these has gone on to become, in their own way, icons of their field and location.

Why? Partly because they were given time to grow in the public mind as to their merit and worthiness to be loved or at least accepted without ridicule.

Not all sculpture, if given time, will rise above public disdain and outrage. History is littered with sculptures that will share a kindred spirit with the Byron sculpture… discarded and forgotten and never knowing what might have been. The vetting process for public sculpture in the Byron Shire is obviously in serious need of an overhaul and having done that the committee should not be swayed by initial public reactionary behaviour.

They need to stand by their decision and let time mould the public to the sculpture. 

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