Botanic Garden: Ouroboros

Worm re-imaged EKlr IMG_4117

### ODT Online Sat, 14 Dec 2013
The worm has turned up
By Debbie Porteous
A giant glowing worm has appeared above ground at the Dunedin Botanic Garden. It is not a supernatural phenomenon, but the city’s latest piece of public art. The flexible worm, which can bend because it is constructed from thousands of pieces of interlocked and articulating marine-grade stainless steel, was installed over the past two days.
Read more

Worm 3b IMG_4401

Worm 2small IMG_4369

Worm 1a IMG_4386

Comment at ODT Online:

Worm and landscaping spend
Submitted by ej kerr on Mon, 23/12/2013 – 3:20pm.
Interesting as always to read your columnist Peter Entwisle’s opinions of the stainless Ouroboros at the Botanic Garden (Art Beat, 23.12.13), and the shoddy process adopted by the city council. This alien is planted in an exceptionally poor section of ‘landscaping’ – a meaningless affront of professionally laid and poorly envisioned hard paving, with a ‘playground’ landing pad. The effect of this cynical deadening forecourt on the tea kiosk with its umbrella-style roof is harsh and fully remiss, architecturally – a boffin job of worst kind. Even the ducks are electing to rest for the evening on nearby lawn – having left their excrement across the pavers. Not sure this metalwork is composting!

On Sunday afternoon I was photographing the wormy presence, it’s bluntly phallic at the supported ‘head’ end… when a local resident asked me what I think of the whole thing. Not a good thing to say. He wasn’t terribly impressed either – he said the project in total was worth about $150,000. For such a cruel mess.

Poor Wendy and … Attendants, they need rescue! The fairy tale plot is lost, crashed, abused.

Related Post and Comments:
15.7.13 Art in public places: Dunedin worms and wyrms #snakesinthegrass
20.5.13 Comment [ODT item and DCC report]

Worm Kiosk EKlr IMG_4179

Worm EKlr IMG_4164

Post and images by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Construction, DCC, Design, Economics, Hot air, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Pics, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Urban design, What stadium

14 responses to “Botanic Garden: Ouroboros

  1. Mike

    yes a friend pointed out that once you’ve seen it as a huge limp penis it cannot be unseen

  2. le duc

    Your photos give a better perspective. As you may know, I am a fan of the adventurous Morison as artist. I think the wyrm looks like ‘Nessie’. Would it go better in the Pond? I dont quite understand comparisons with Glenfalloch.

  3. Argument is much less with Julia Morison whom I would stretch credibility to describe as a ‘jobbing artist’ – given her long-standing multidisciplinary creative credentials. It really does centre on the heavies (they think!) at DCC who can wrestle an overspend and legal conditions (ROI and more) whenever they feel so disposed. The object appears well crafted, and imaginatively thought for a type of thickly devised chainmail – whether worm, snake or hydatid, deliberately masculinised by the artist. Mythologically other (Ouroboros, now and past), it is poorly sunk with feet in concrete – no modicum of cover from birds of prey or mischief writers. Biologically ill-fated.

    • le duc

      I’m sure you’re right, but not sure about ‘mischief’ writers, who, I assume are nihilist subversives. Some naifs just write, without conflictual agenda, Subs run them, or not. Anyhow, Darwinianism will get them too. Keep up the good work.

  4. Hype O'Thermia

    Top marks to Morison for finding an engineer to design “Willy Worm”, it’s very cleverly built if a touch short on non-engineering virtues.

  5. Calvin Oaten

    Rob; you mentioned recently of a visit to York and an archeological display you saw. I just want to say:

    “Of all the absurd, that I’ve ever heard, was the velvet enshrouded, Viking ‘turd’. That, some faceless unknown chap, would leave an unsuspecting crap, to be the feature so inane, when simply left there by a Dane. Would that technology had then been able, to tell the story in not just fable, but leave a record of the stop, as it fell to earth, with a resounding ‘plop’. That would be much, much more than worth, the effort expended to reduce the girth, of one who eyes an innocent serf.”……..

    More interesting than preserving a bunch of manuka sticks.

    {Link to Rob’s comment -Eds}

    • le duc

      Some old Thane excreta must be a fossil, surely, C. Anything in a midden dig is, er, fuel to the jobbing Anthropologist. Christchurch has digs at Sydenham/Waltham to uncover working class social history. The manuka logs are part of Southern heritage. If you dont want them, offer them to Canterbury Museum.

  6. It was always going to happen. The perfect target.

    ### ODT Online Wed, 15 Jan 2014
    Vandalism spurs CCTV move
    By Debbie Porteous
    Closed-curcuit television is to be installed at the Dunedin Botanic Garden after vandals damaged the city’s latest piece of public art. Someone entered the garden at the weekend and put a dint in the steel worm sculpture, also known as Ouroboros. The sculpture was installed in mid-December.
    Read more

    “$85,000” is not the total project cost, just Reece being deliberately liberal with the truth. Try double.

  7. Anonymous

    Maybe the next time they think about spending so much money on arty-farty at the gardens, maybe they’ll get practical and consider fencing around the playground and installing some toilets nearby. It is rather frustrating for parents and caregivers to trudge all the way over to the central building. Mosgiel’s park is bloody brilliant in comparison, with a fenced area around the little kids area and toilets right there (the equipment throughout its park is stunning too). Dunedin’s gardens are very popular too and yay for the worm but its a lot of money when there are more pressing needs.

    • Worm and upper garden building development costs aside, the amount of funding sucked out of curatorial, staff and planting budgets at the Botanic Gardens over the years to wrestle stadium budgets etc are now really showing in the lower gardens.

      The perennial borders, rose gardens and herb garden are in a shocking state – poor maintenance and design, and general lack of tending and replenishment. Not good enough for one of the council’s most popular recreation and leisure assets.

      • Anonymous

        Absolutely agree. It is bloody gutting how many services throughout the city have been compromised by greedy bastards, their accomplices and rugby bludgers. Essential services and long-term dependable staff have all experienced some form of diminished sense of purpose in their roles or outsourcing as a consequence, all while the council has spent millions on its “communications department” and ratepayer reinforcements. The latter honed to a state of efficiency where visiting the council and going through international airport security leave you with the same inexplicable feeling of discomfort and violation.

        One of the tasks for the new Chief Executive Office should be a focus on just stopping the madness throughout the council. Just say “STOP!”, ask everyone to breath, managers to focus on priorities and stop chasing ducks, take down the motivation posters, forget team building exercises, forget about where you can add Wi-Fi next, just let staff get on with doing their jobs well and all have a wee think on how to get back to working in the best interests of the city. Flowers, poo and all.

        Now that would be a triumph worth riding in.

  8. There are assets that are used day after day, all year round, by locals and visitors. Library, museums, gardens. Solo visitors or groups, for amusement or study, or to fill in time in pleasant surroundings. So what gets most support? Areas and That Accursed Structure that are used almost exclusively for team sports, unused altogether for varying lengths of time.

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