Thursday's fun-seeking column took us for a ride with "our" Walter Burley Griffin, a lad of 17, on the fabulous Ferris wheel (the world's first) that was a major attraction of the 1893 World's Fair at Chicago. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-life/ganggang-artists-painting-of-his-wifes-42-lovers-to-go-on-show-20160202-gmjo9d
In passing we mused that every true city needs a giant Ferris wheel, that giant Ferris wheels give character to a city's skyline and that Canberra really ought to have one.
We imagined a truly gigantic one improving the city's skyline by looming up behind and towering over Parliament House. Now colleague Karleen Minney has indulged our fantasy with the image you see today.
Of course when and if a Ferris wheel is proposed for Canberra the city's superabundant bean-counters will make their usual high-pitched whining noises about the cost of it. 'We'll all be rooned!' they will skirl, like badly-played bagpipes. But as bean counters they will also be interested in the fact that the Ferris wheel at Chicago's World's Fair saved that expensive-to-stage fair and its municipal hosts from financial horrors. Fabulously popular, even though it charged 50 cents a ride (twice the cost of admission to the fair), it harvested shekels galore. With 1250 souls able to ride it at a time and every one of them paying 50 cents this engineering wonder of the world turned out to be as well a money-making machine.
For already far too tasteful Canberra we do favour the biggest, most vulgar, luridly lit-up-at-night Ferris wheel possible. And yet, should we favour an aesthetically pleasing Ferris wheel for this city a little Googling reveals that there can be such creations. The Chinese have some. There is an especially elegant one at Tianjin, and another beauty, though it cheats in that it has no spokes and so is not really a wheel at all, at Changzhou.
We have urged Chief Minister Andrew Barr to take the promise of a Canberra Ferris wheel into the next election. It will be hard, unattractive work, (but someone has to do it) but before a choice is made one of his MLAs must go at taxpayers' expense on a fact-finding tour of the world's Ferris wheels.
Canberra's children, sure to be our Ferris wheel's most enthusiastic patrons, have gone back to school this week. Coincidentally Chinese artist Li Hongbo has a remarkable classroom and schoolchild themed exhibition, Textbooks, underway at New York's Klein Sun Gallery.
Star objects of the exhibition are the figures of school children he hand-carves in his studio in Beijing from blocks of glued and stacked secondhand high school, middle school, and primary school textbooks. Some of the ghostly children seem to be emerging from these blocks of textbooks (have they been there inside them, all the time?) rather as some of Michelangelo's unfinished human figures are coming out, liberated by the sculptor, from inside the blocks of marble in which they have been cooped up. Some of Li Hongbo's other sculpted-from-textbooks schoolchildren sit on actual weathered school desks.
If you want to go "Gosh!" at a gallery of Li Hongbo's Textbooks works and to find the serious purpose behind his works then gambol online to ever-stimulating Designboom.
Mention of the magic word "sculpture" gives us an excuse to bring you yet another picture from the series of them, just dusted off by ArchivesACT, of the burying of Bert Flugelman's Earth Work.
As discussed with aplomb on Tuesday http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-life/ganggang-archives-virtually-digs-up-sculpture-buried-in-commonwealth-park-20160131-gmid8l the great and famous sculptor Bert Flugelman (1923-2013) in 1975 created Earth Work to be buried in Commonwealth Park (then Commonwealth Gardens) as part of the Sculpture '75 component of Canberra's Australia 75 Festival of Creative Arts and Sciences.
Earth Work consisted then (and presumably consists still) of six large, polished tetrahedrons.
For Flugelman the digging of the trench and the burying of the tetrahedrons was all part of the art work. Perhaps the burying was one of the "happenings" that were a part of the festival. Those of us who were young in the '70s rather miss happenings.
It is certainly all happening in this dramatic picture in which a refined, artistic bulldozer driver, a Rembrandt of his trade, is artistically steering his juggernaut along the brink of the deep trench.
Earth Work is said to be still down there beneath oblivious park-goers' feet, a work of art visited by no beings other than deep-burrowing earthworms.