Monday, June 06, 2005

Statuary Offence

Totally co-incidentally, I'm responding to Laura's meme. I'd meant to do something eventually, but the opportunity arose so suddenly that I feel compelled to share.

This is a guest review of a very bad piece on the way to Sydney.
Here's the official line:

The Meridian Arch, which stands at the southern gateway of Marulan, marks the path of the 150° Meridian as it passes through Marulan, the only town in the world on its path. Incorporated in the arch is the vault which describes the path of the earth around the sun, while two elements at each end of the structure represent a sundial and a clock. The sculpture was designed and constructed by local artist SM.

And this, the unofficial... by guest writer, Harry (actually in the 'comments' field for a post down below, but too much fun to lie in the shadows):

Hey Ducks,
I found that thing outside Truckstop 31 (on the M5 at Marulan, for those who don't know).

Appropriately I got there as the sun was setting. Glorious tones of apricot and salmon softened the deeping greys and purples as if the sun was giving me that one last smile. It was a day to look back on fondly and I wished the golden orb a pleasant journey to continue such a nice, carefree day and bring it to new people around the world.

I am man enough to admit that I felt selfish to want the sunset to linger over me, and thus deny some poor souls their long awaited sunrise to gentley prod them awake.

Holy shit! It looks like the leftovers of Tatooine!

A sail - looks like a spinnaker. or from the other side; an ear, of a kangaroo. At the other end is a tyre slightly off kilter. That makes sense because it is by the side of the M5 which is where you often see truck tyres and kangaroo ears! The hooped globe in the middle of the roof looks like it will rotate, so I'm guessing that's the earth. I didn't jump up to check it, though. The big side structures that are bowed outwards and curve strongly overhead don't remind me of anything.

Nothing says "We ran out of money" like unpainted sprayed-on concrete.

I stood in the middle of it (on the map) hoping to inadvertently turn the machine on and get transported to another galaxy, but nothing happens. Perhaps it only works on the equinox. (The equinox is a strange creature that is half horse and half bovine. I don't know why someone would build a sculpture on one. 'We' get two a year, but I've never seen one in real life. They probably taste quite good and are easy to farm. I dunno why we only get two a year or who gives them to us, but I think it might be Ra. Hail Ra! Perhaps they, like the mule, are sterile?)

I will come back at the equinox and try to turn the device on and join the two confused tourists and seven lost kangaroos on teh planet Xadros. i hope I get one of the blaster staffs that they have on Stargate.
Evidently this structure was built on a primoidial earth-magic site. It must be sited on a powerful and profound aboriginal site. Maybe the tyre is tilted at a telltale 37degrees or maybe the map on the floor will show how this site is aligned with other such sites around the world - ley lines and what-not.

At 150degrees longitude there is butt-all - and that includes Marulan.

'Welcome to Marulan! ... No, really you're welcome to it.'
'But I don't want it!'

Maybe the path leads somewhere - it curves off importantly to the right. Aha! A sign.

Marulan Historic sites.
I am here, it tells me.
The other side reads:
Marulan Meridian Arch
A Centenary of Federation Arch
This arch marks the path of the 150 meridian as it passes through Marulan the only town in the world on it's path. [I am sure some Papua New Guinea towns will have something to say about that. Or a few places in Queensland. Oh, I am wrong about Marulan being Butt-all. It is a sister city of Butt-all.] This is the exact middle of the Eastern Standard Time Zone, [I knew Marulan was famous for something!] where the sun rises at exactly 6am and sets at 6pm precisely every equinox. [I guess that means that at all other times that you look at this sculpture you should refer to your wrist watch. Perhaps the cunningly concealed invisible mechanism just sets the sculpture to day-light saving. that would be impressive.]

The sculpture describes the path of th earth around the sun. [A fairly vague description. "Yeah, go round and around a bit and try not to hit Mars."] while the two elements at each end of the structure represent a sundail [or ear] and a clock [or wobbly tyre].

Unveiled 26 October 2003 [so it's a bit late for the Centenary of Federation. I can see the shitstorm about this in Canberra when the relevant Minister addresses parliament "Erm, it seems we forgot to include Marulan in the centenary of Federation celebrations." An opposition spokesman leaps to his feet crying "Marulan! How can anyone forget Marulan!?" A Nationals member agrees saying "True! True! You can set your watch by that place four times a year!" "Mind you," countered the relevant Minister "You'd have to have a good reason to be in the middle of Butt-all at 6am or 6pm to do so, and who wants to do that?" The Minister was senshured for gross ineptitude and for not respecting our proud National treasures. A greens member, with tears standing in her eyes, demands that the Minister make a pilgrammage to Marulan and lay all the ears of slain kangaroos at the foot of the giant ear in recompense. "I thought it was a spinakker?" queried the government whip. "In Marulan?" spluttered a disbeiving Labor MP. "Shit, I dunno. Where is it anyway?"
"Oh, for fucks sake!" explodes the first Labour MP who spoke. Chairs fly, Opposition MPs and Nationals burst into a full-throated rendition of the Marulan Seperatists National Anthem and the Riot squad is called in.] [yep, as part of our Nations Federation celebrations, Marulan eventually got around to it.]

[And the map must have been lying around in someone's garage before they realised they could flog it for a few hundred bucks to Marulan Council. It still has the USSR on it. So the sculpture was 2 years later and the map, a decade.]

Leaving the sun and Canberra behind me I continued home. The stop was a good time to sober up. So, thanks.


Lucy Tartan said...

you two are GOD. Marulan oweth you.

Mindy said...

Marulan KFC is imprinted on my brain. That's where we ate the KFC that Dave and I spent the evening throwing up, several times. KFC the second time around is not nice. Needless to say we haven't darkened the doors of KFC since then. Luckily Alice Springs has pretty much every fast food franchise available in Australia so this hasn't been a problem for us.

Ampersand Duck said...

Ha! No, no, I think Marulen owes the Albatross, who is responsible for it (in the worst sense of the word). He lives nearby, and probably sees his work every day with a twinge of pride.

And Mindy, I'll never forget buying KFC on a trip to Sydney with an old mate, and trying to eat and drive with huge rivers of grease flowing down my arms -- haven't gone near the stuff since!

Scrivener said...

Cool post, and what a hideous sculpture!

Is KFC the same there as it is in the U.S.: Kentucky Fried Chicken? I had no idea they were an international chain.

harry said...

Hey Scrivener,

Yes, the one and only Colonel!
I worked at KFC for four and a half years during school and much of uni. I have eaten more freshly cooked KFC than possibly anyone in Australia.
What part of the US you from?
I think we've got most of your chain fastfood stores here - even a Taco bell or two.