The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

Sculptures, fluoro lamps, and foreign policy

I am disorganised, which means it’s time for another potpourri list.

[Sculptures at Werribee Park, near Melbourne]

  • This is a cool idea and probably worth supporting. The report in yesterday’s West Australian says it’d be an “Australian first”, which hardly sounds right — I took the photos above in a similar sculpture park in Werribee, Victoria.
  • Valé Elizabeth Jolley. Tis always a shame when an author on my “need to read more of” list passes away …
  • Good ol’ IMDB finally has a new design. About freakin’ time.
  • The Federal Government’s plan to outlaw incandescent globes is a bit of a shock and reeks horribly of taking an easy political target just to seem clean and green. It’s a good measure, to be sure, and should prompt innovation among fluoro manufacturers, but it’s not the panacea that it’s being talked up to be. The thing with most ‘environmentally friendly’ technologies is that they’re a case of lesser of two evils — and in this case, compact fluoros are filled with mercury, thus creating a bunch of disposal headaches. It’s a manageable problem, of course, but one that needs to be considered when saying things like “800 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide saved”.
  • Since I don’t exactly have a copy of The Diplomat in my back pocket, I can’t read the exact words of Kevin Rudd as he was reported last week. Apparently he is interested in being both an ally and constructive critic of US policy, which reminds me of a Kim Beazley speech I heard some years back: “Australia should be the friend America needs, not the friend America wants”. But he also talks about APEC and seems to criticise John Howard for supporting the East Asia Summit. I’m commenting on fragmented quotes, but he may be quite wrong, since APEC has thoroughly lost its way. His talk of revitalising APEC is good, as long as it involves reform, but I doubt it’s achievable — the Sydney meetings are straight before the election. As for the EAS, Howard deserves congratulations (not criticism) for representing Australia at a meeting that has much better prospects for earning long-term relevance.
  1. Yes, I like the idea of that sculpture park. I didn’t read the article and can’t find it online (!), did it say how to support it, because nothing is mentioned on that website, just that there’s a plan and they’re working on it…?

    Thanks for mentioning it :)

  2. “Imagine a tranquil place where you can retreat from the city to enjoy and contemplate art, our European and indigenous heritage, the natural environment and the achievements of the city towering across the river.”

    An intriguingly specific heritage there. Hm.

  3. Simone: at the moment it seems to just be a proposal with no substance. In the newspaper report the Lord Mayor was tepidly supportive and said he wanted to see a detailed plan. The site says “the Master Plan will be completed in the second half of 2007″ and after that I’d expect them to call for public comment, which is the time to go and spam the Lord Mayor about how cool it’d be.

    Tim: isn’t that just the standard munging of words so as to sound all PC and respectful of Aboriginal heritage? Then again, I think with that phrasing, they’re denying my Chinese heritage … I shall be taking this to HREOC!

  4. Exactly! Or at the very least, it’s a very pre-1970’s heritage.

    I guess it depends how recently you want to define “heritage”.

  5. Yeah, APEC needs reform and it’s strength as a regional economic forum is far from meaningful.
    And what is this upcoming forum in Australia but an excuse for boastful security measures, photo-opportunities, and announcements of strength. It is all a show, and real strength as an organisation should be shown by results, not at a meeting.
    Not to mention tensions between Western and Asian members… the question is, how long can APEC sustain itself [economically as well], merely to ‘keep up appearances?’
    Btw, what do you think of the Ruddster? Trying to cover all bases and support everyone from all sides, or does he genuinely have a more balanced way of viewing issues such as the US-AUS alliance?

  6. Short answers: APEC might be sustaining itself as a useless body for a while, simply because of the showiness that you describe. And no, I think Rudd is just trying to cover all bases.

    Longer answers: here and here :-)

  7. [...] Walking away from the theatre, the gentleman I spoke to (I neglected to ask his name, although he’s active in arts administration?) had the same question on his mind as I did: what’s the next step? I think the simplest of the many take-home messages from Charles Landry is that generally speaking, we are short of culture — not that we lack great musicians or interesting sculptors (quite the contrary), but that their presence can’t be felt when wandering around Perth. Thus, we should get behind any initiative that makes the arts more accessible to people, whether it’s a traditional idea like sculptures on footpaths or a more eccentric one like painting buildings (or projecting onto them). [...]

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