Sunday, May 12, 2013

Whale Watching

As part of Canberra's ongoing centenary, on Saturday the city unveiled the eagerly anticipated 'Skywhale'. It was a giant balloon shaped as a whale, but with 10 large sagging breasts. It cost the Canberran tax payer $300k. Those at least are the raw facts.

What the "Canberra 100" committee wanted us to believe was that it was an astounding piece of visual art by renouned Victorian artist (Patricia Piccinini) that would more than recoup the bloated costs by promoting Canberra as a worldwide destination. How a skywhale floating around in the sky does that is anyone's guess. It's obviously been succesful in creating debate.....debates such as 'how can the government predict the loss of 20,000 jobs in Canberra, whilst at the same time spending $300k on a hot air balloon".

On Saturday there was a launch of the balloon next to the Australian National Gallery. Amy, me, Catherine (Amy's sister) and Eli went along. I wanted to like the balloon I really did. The truth of it was that it was pretty ugly with a face that only a skywhale mother could like. It didn't much look like a whale and I didn't really get the 10 sagging breasts either.

The art-set that had gathered to see the balloon launch gave it three cheers as it rose into the air. I've seen lots of balloons take off (we frequent the Canberra hot air balloon every year) and I was a bit underwhelmed. As everyone cheered and remarked how good it was "The Emperors new clothes" sprung to mind.

I 'get' the point of modern art and it's ability to create debate. I don't believe that modern art is nihilistic just because it doesn't always represent form, but essentially I found the skywhale crap.

Eli (aged 4) said he liked it though, so who can say what is art and what isn't.

Here's a video of it taking off.

Eli under the skywhale breasts

Is it a plane, is it a whale...

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