Friday, December 21, 2018


When you feel a strong connection to place and every aspect of that place is crushed, smashed, rearranged and broken, it can leave a bit of a hole in the psyche, in the heart and even in the logic center of the brain.

Last year I made a prayerful attempt to express my love of the native bushland close to Darwin Airport. Land that, although right in the middle of our town, consisted of quite healthy examples of open woodland as well as riparian vegetation. 

It contained abundant diversity of plants and wildlife. 

I wrote notes and attached them to trees and shrubs throughout the area to be affected by development and clearing. I identified species and wrote love notes to the trees and messages to humans hoping that they would take some time to consider the life that existed in this special place.

I attempted to prevent the destruction of one particular tree, by covering it in notes explaining just how precious this tree was. (It was buldozed to make way for excess earth after an excavation. 

I took photos of some areas when flowering plants were in full bloom and pinned them to a fence near by after the area had been cleared to show people what had once existed on that site.

As far as I can tell nobody took much notice, the tags were regularly removed and the clearing went on regardless. 

I am glad I did it. Maybe I should have been more pro-active, maybe I should have staged a more physical protest, challenging the destruction... Maybe there's not much one person can do.

As I was cleaning out my office for Christmas I found a folder with some of the pieces still in it. 

One day the whole place will be forgotten. Just thought I'd post something here to jolt my own memory.


Thursday, December 06, 2018

Put on a Happy Face

If you travel the cycle paths and back streets of Darwin you may occasionally see some rather unique street art.

Of course the roadside rubbish sculptures of Trevor (Rubbish Warrior) Jenkins have been a reoccurring fixture of Darwin street life for many years (more than 10), but there are other obscure serial effigists floating around who have also left their mark on our town.

I don't know the person who does these but they appear on several tree trunks around the place, some in high use areas and amazingly on the whole they have been left in tact and un-vandalised. 

Here are just a few of the smiley faces of Darwin.
I reckon they're all made out of beer cans, not sure if there's a deeper message involved but the appear a benign addition to street life around our town.

I had heard that the artist may have been the same person who was, at one stage, using discarded wine bladders to create artistic sculptures around the place. I think there may be a connection between these sculptures and the prevalence of alcoholic beverages  consumed and containers/people discarded in the process.

Monday, December 03, 2018

The Kitsch Imports of Vulgarity

“Plastics for the Lawn.” An American Kitsch icon.
From old Florida post cards, Miami Vice to The Bird Cage, the nauseating colour, gaudy hot pink instantly recognisable impressions of a creature we have no actual association with.
Icon of unsophisticated pretences of glamour and style...

Beginning in the 50s USA and I reckon a major resurgence in the 80s with all that hot pink & baby blue.

The existence of Lawn Flamingos and all subsidiary iconic association with.... Blagh, has stirred my curiosity.
A cursory search of the internet revealed that contemporary culture as expressed through our attachments to pulp icons like the lawn flamingo shows that the peculiar phenomenon tells a story of us that lurks beneath politics, fashion and personal identity. 
One book I'd like to read 'Flight Maps' by Jenifer Price, makes a point of using the Lawn Flamingo to highlight the disconnect between a suburban working class Baby Boomer generation and the natural world from which they were in every practical way, removed. “...very urbanised and suburbanised needs, discontents, and desires for meaningful, yet artificially constructed connections to nature.”

The phenomenon is expressed perceptively in the song by Radiohead, 'Fake Plastic Trees'.

I don't know where I am going with this idea except to make an attempt to explore the idea, and depending on where my questions take me, to wage war on the cult of the Flamingo or to embrace the whole bombastic abomination. 
LOL... to my own consternation I have taken to noting the presence of flamingos in public spaces, media, art and lawns. Flamingos however they are represented or on display with the question... Why? 

(by Anne Dell'Aria for The Conversation)  

Sunday, December 02, 2018