Monday, 13 August 2012


Victoria Park Oval was Collingwood Football Club's home ground for over a century. When the 'Magpies' moved out, the oval was retained but much of the rest of the space was stripped back to provide public open space. Part of this stripping back was the removal of the old score board, and in its place is the sculptural work The Final Siren by Anderson Hunt.

The visual links to the old scoreboard are there. The elevated location overlooking the ground, the roughly rectangular shape, and the numbers presented in various ways (including on barrels that you can spin to 'change the score'). Of course it is also all black and white (the team colours).

Less obvious references to the scoreboard also exist. The rear of the work includes stylised bicycle cogs, cranks and chains. I was wondering if Victoria Park once also housed a velodrome until I read on the web that the artist was referencing the inner workings of the scoreboard that apparently included bicycle mechanisms.

Interestingly, the very clean laser cut, graphic designed elements (numbers, cranks, etc) are in contrast to the images of magpies used on the interactive elements that are far less crisp, and have a  hand drawn look.

The work also includes some facts (of the 'highset score at this ground' type) that seems to replicate the interpretation around the site which is also very focussed on statistics and dates. But kids love the play ground quality of some of the moving parts and spinning barrels, no matter how dry the text (and would love them more if they were set a bit lower making them easier to reach).

So, the work has something for the kids and something for the die hard Collingwood fans. The big unanswered question is how it will be received by the rest of the rapidly gentrifying neighbourhood in which it sits.