Freeway art; yeah, whatever…

On the drive to Flinders, Lizzie took Granny and the Gang along the EastLink, past the ubiquitous offerings of freeway…er…art.

Yeah, well, whatever.

Perhaps we can live in hope that the GFC will stem the tide of all that conceptual trash now littering the sides of our semi-urban byways. Call us a philistine, but Callum Morton’s Hotel just doesn’t to it for us. The folly bit we get, no worries.







“…never quite of this world.”“Hotel is a large scale model of a high rise hotel. It will sit alongside EastLink in an open field. Hotel is effectively a giant folly. Motorists will view it from the caas an actual hotel and perhaps over time as a strangely de-scaled prop that has escaped the theme park or film set. 

 “Hotel continues the development of what amounts to a parallel built universe that I have been constructing alongside the real world for a number of years. In this world things appear in unlikely contexts in oddly de-scaled and altered form, as if they have been pushed down a portal from the recent past and popped out mistakenly in this time and place. Hotel appears as a piece of roadside architecture, only there are no other buildings for miles and you can’t get in. “I have for some time been interested in how we perceive things while in motion, in particular from the space of the car. The freeway belongs to a family of spaces in contemporary life known as non-places. These spaces, that also include sports stadiums, airports, cinemas, casinos among others, are transit zones, built to facilitate our movement through them rather than encourage us to occupy them for any length of time. “So Hotel acts as a type of monument or mirror to the effect produced by both the car and the space of the freeway itself. It is strangely disconnected from the landscape it is in, and its form is distilled and generic rather than specific.

It looks like a number of places simultaneously, as if its identity is unstable and still moving, but it is never quite of this world. In a sense the mirror effect it produces is simply a question about how our worlds are constructed, not an alternate vision but the same one slightly out of focus.” – Callum Morton

(Spiel lifted from the ConnectEast document on Google)

And then there’s this, which ain’t so bad – though must be an absolute nightmare to dust…






“a collision of abstraction and ornamentation…”

“Desiring Machine is a fallen tree/tower lying by the roadway. It is a crashed relic of machine-age desire putting down new roots into the earth and unfurling tendrils from it’s architectonic radii and sections. To motorists speeding past, it is an indeterminate blur, a silhouetted filigree that might be a decaying windmill or other piece of obsolete agricultural machinery – a relic of the struggle of humans to co-exist with nature. The cause of this optical confusion is a vegetal motif, a floral border from a 19th century pattern book that has been adapted to form the base unit of the modular system of this sculpture which is composed of three repeated modular units generated from the ‘original’ pattern.

“Desiring Machine’s recursive plant-like structure unfolds from a single stem five units long that branches into four stems, three units long which in turn branches into nine stems, two units long and finally branches into sixteen stems, each one unit long. It is too mechanical and perfectly symmetrical to be a tree and it is too ornate to be an industrial artefact. In Desiring Machine a collision of abstraction and ornamentation is played out. It appears vaguely utilitarian, logical; it could have been left behind by the road builders or be a collapsed electricity pylon. If so, its structural logic is obscured by intense ornament as if it had been infected by net curtain, lace doily or other item of domestic frippery. These stereotypical oppositions are a playful critique of various forms of techno-industrialism that have too often objectified nature as passive and mechanical, a ‘thing’ to be controlled and made useful.

“Paradoxically, Desiring Machine suggests a pre-modern, Aristotelian conception of nature as an animate plurality filled with purpose, and desire.”  — Simeon Nelson


 What we did find ourselves desiring was the run of the mill performance art we got on the way back home, courtesy of CathcartConnect…



5 thoughts on “Freeway art; yeah, whatever…

  1. Pingback: more public artefacts: more highway what?

  2. Oh but I like the hotel!! Mind you, I do like it in much the same way as I like the Big Merino, or the Big Banana, or the Big Prawn etc etc..
    Maybe it could be the beginning of a ‘big things’ sister phenomenon – ‘little things’

  3. Well the Hotel isn’t really a big or infllated ‘thing’ is it. It’s really a small Hotel because it’s reduced in size. It’s 2/3 the scale of a nine storey building. I think you lot try too hard to be cultured so i won’t call you philistines, but i could think of a bunch of other names for you.

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