Friday, August 05, 2016

Hoop dreams

Once described rather brilliantly by the Dominion Post as, ‘the formidable aluminum sphere’, Neil Dawson’s Ferns was taken down from its site in Wellington‘s Civic Square just over a year ago. It was always a pretty bold move to suspend 175 kilograms of metal overhead in a public space, especially when the object itself often drew a crowd, but time and the weather are tough companions. 

While Ferns was subject to continued inspection, including a stand down period for some light repairs in 2011, in June last year it was removed and ‘vanished’.  Well, sort of. There were sightings of it in a warehouse but after that, not a word. The City Council has always said it will return Ferns to Civic Square and it looks as though plans are on track for that to happen with a new version to be made and installed. 

It’s odd though that, having scored with a sculpture that captured public affection and became Wellington’s de facto icon, the City Council never made an effort to build on this sense of ownership . There’s been no ongoing communication with the thousands of people who voted for this work with their cameras. 

What a lost opportunity. In the meantime, down the road in Cuba Street, Basketball New Zealand seems to have nabbed Dawson’s idea for itself in the form of a logo.