Light Boxes vs. PO boxes.

Design Daily readers, we’d like you to meet our man on the street, Simon Todd. Simon will be offering up regular quirky updates on what’s happening on the urban design-scape of the mean streets of Auckland, in a segment we like to call, ‘Auckland’s urban beat from our man on the street.’

To kick it all off, Simon takes a stroll though the latest offering from Auckland City Council’s (ACC) Art in Public Places project - the Bledisloe Walkway Light Boxes

The walkway, in central Auckland, is a miserable, Sunday-grey alley, deprived of natural light by scratched-up old Perspex roofing panels, and flooded by artificial strip light from the vast post office nearby.

Perhaps the ACC’s vision is to create a pleasant, central corridor connecting the new Aotea Square with the boutique food stalls of Elliot Stables. A place of inspiration and happy art-making. A place where doing the mail run has never felt so good.

So what better light box exhibition to have in the walkway, than photographer Richard Orjis’ opulent fantasy world, Park? Sadly, none of the moping passers-by I observed stopped to appreciate his wonderful, “decadent playground”.

Bed In, 2010

This ambivalence left his delightfully bejewelled-but-bedridden-robots to stare blankly at the vast bank of PO boxes housed opposite. It left his “totemic” Alsatians struggling to stand out against the harsh reflection from across the way.

As I was not in need of a stamp, I left Bledisloe Walkway wondering why I had bothered.

Forever, 2008

The Art in Public Places is a marvellous project, and I was excited at the prospect of light boxes. But, they need to be in a space where people congregate, contemplate and converse, not a dingy thoroughfare round the back of a multiplex.

Park runs until Monday October 25th. If you fancy being the next exhibitor in the Bledisloe Walkwalk Light Boxes, download the application here.  

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