Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Maybe I Have No Soul...

No, it's ok. I haven't gone all weird and atheistic. I'm referring to my (lack of) artistic sensibilities.

After rearranging my prospective classroom the other day, my friend Angela and I decided to go out for a little drive. She happened to mention that she hadn't seen Ebbsfleet International, and she was intrigued by my description of it. So, off we went. Angela was as bemused as I had been by the architectural design, and both of us were completely flummoxed as to why the grassy areas outside the terminal were arranged in troughs and peaks... a sort of ripple-effect, only bigger. Imagine a lawn with row after row of speed humps (the "sleeping policeman" type) and you get the idea.

Whatever the reasoning behind it, the result is that some poor individual is going to find cutting the grass extremely hard work... and it'll have to be done with a hand mower because you can't get a sit-down one to cope with all the bumps: they're too close together.

We then drove on down to Bluewater. In the entrance foyer below the cinema ticket office (I think it's called the Water Circus, only they've just gone and filled in all the fountains) there is a display area. And at the moment, the display they have up is of the proposals for a new sculpture which is intended, as one person remarked, " to put Ebbsfleet on the map!"

There are five proposed options on display, small models and postcards, and a picture and video simulation of what the installation will look like in situ, and shoppers are being encouraged to make comments on little postcards for each one. Actually, I think some of the comments are of more artistic merit than the sculptures.

The idea is that the chosen sculpture will be twice the size of the Angel of the North. And it will be visible from the A2. This latter point is, in my opinion, rather important...

The most popular option, as far as I can work out, is a horse. A white stallion, to be exact. Now, horses in fields are quite a common sight as one drives down the A2. However, this one will be 50m high, and almost the same height as the electricity pylons beside it. As the computer simulation made clear, this results in a curious visual illusion type effect. Inducing visual illusions related to perspective and distance in drivers along a busy stretch of motorway is probably not the best of ideas.

I speak from experience. This is very close to the spot where I got smashed into by an articulated lorry whose driver didn't quite appreciate the perspectives in his driving mirror...

The least popular option (and thus probably the most likely to win) seems to be a pile of scaffolding. An expensive pile of scaffolding. Oh, I'm sure it's very carefully arranged, and not actually real scaffolding... but it does look rather like a child's Meccano set construction which has been sat on by mistake.

The other three options are an open cube-on-cube building-block arrangement with a laser shining straight up through the top (maybe it's actually a disguised homing beacon for spaceships to land at Ebbsfleet Pan-Gallactic International!), the inside of a large building on top of a hill (all made of concrete) which resembles an abandoned Lego demolition site, and a large Sky satellite dish with a feather in front of it.

Art? Ummm, if you say so...


Kasia said...

Those are all so spectacularly ugly, I can't decide which of them I dislike most.

gemoftheocean said...

Agreed, whatever will go in will be the butt ugliest option.

If I HAD to pick,I'd pick the horse, because it would be BEGGING for secondary school and college the college aged kids to do all sorts of cool things with it. THINK of the possibilities:

1) Horse tipping!!
2) Getting ****faced drunk and writing your enemies name on it.
3) Painting it in gang colors or school colors
4) RIDING the horsie!!!
5) adding a harrow or other farm implement to be drawn by the horse
6) putting the name of your school and the year of your graduating class on the side of the thing.

Kasia said...


Don't forget putting a statue of Catherine the Great next to it... :-p

gemoftheocean said...

Kasia, great idea -- also, how could I have forgotten? A pile of horse dung under its tail.

Londiniensis said...

Yes, you do have a soul. It's the worthy elected councillors, etc. who commission this sorry junk who don't have the b---s to stand up to the self-serving coterie that makes up the art establishment in this country. The late Fyfe Robertson called it PHART - phony art.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

I think you haven't got a twisted and empty soul,

or a brain full of stupidness.

So you win.

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