Muse by Craig Ranapia

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Muse: Hooray for Wellywood (Really!)

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  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to JackElder,

    retrieve a gnome that had been stolen from our front doorstep (long story).

    Wasn’t me. (Shut up, Dobby, or I’ll let Gollum eat another finger.) Um, carry on. Nothing to see here.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12031 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to DeepRed,

    One big difference: the Eiffel never pretended to be an ersatz imitation of anything.

    It also didn't have writing on it saying "Paris, the city of cheese" or suchlike.

    I understand content is beyond the ambit of planning/consent authorities (and thank you for the detailed explanation, Tom). The organisation I'd expect to want some say over the silly Welly sign is their regional tourism/economic development agency. That's their job.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16741 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Rethink

    Excellent

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16741 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    But the passion for or against is interesting. People are actually trying to do something or not. Wouldn't it be nice to see a bit more of this attitude with regard the country as a whole and the direction we are going there. Further up someone mentioned being an example of democracy if the protesters influenced a change of mind. Yes I think that would be refreshing.
    I also think this thread is proof of the passion albeit in a small not insignificant way.;)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6263 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to mattgeeknz,

    The sign is on airport land and is probably within Council rules, but the canvas is massive and encompasses a big chunk of Wellington.

    I'm not sure what you mean by a massive canvas. The sign is as big as it is. Do you mean it can be seen from a massive chunk of Wellington?

    No. Do we have the right to voice displeasure at a corporate artwork that purports to say something about Wellington as a whole? Absolutely.

    Is it purporting that though? I thought, like Hollywood, that it was referring to a suburb in which a lot of movies are made. It's "Hollywood, in Wellington".

    Even if it were purporting that, it's still an opinion, something people are allowed to express in NZ, so long as it doesn't break some quite basic rules. That is actually one of the things I most like about NZ, one of the few things that made me weep as I flew into NZ after my first trip abroad, that it is a place where people are allowed to be tacky. After flying into a dozen cities that looked as uniform from above as Coronation Street, there was something quite appealing to the idea that you can paint your house red as a fashion statement, or make a stupid joke on your land, or put a tacky gnome in your garden.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8586 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Sacha,

    It also didn’t have writing on it saying “Paris, the city of cheese” or suchlike.

    No, for nine years the tallest building on Earth was a giant billboard for Citroën -- even my sense of laissez faire would baulk at the Sky Tower being turned into a giant JumboTron . :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12031 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    It also didn't have writing on it saying "Paris, the city of cheese" or suchlike.

    No, it was "Paris, boasting the biggest penis in the world for 40 years". Which is cheezy, but still awesome, IMHO.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8586 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to BenWilson,

    That is actually one of the things I most like about NZ, one of the few things that made me weep as I flew into NZ after my first trip abroad, that it is a place where people are allowed to be tacky.

    Well it certainly will convey that message for visiting dignitaries, tourists even Monarchy and suchlike as they enter the Capital via aeroplane :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6263 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to jessica scott,

    I think another reason the sign has caused so much outrage is the process of it being announced in advance, yet the public being told that it's a done deal. If it had suddenly popped up over night, people still would have been upset, but I think would have come around to it, or grumbled but not made too much fuss.

    I think the biggest irritant for me - besides the idea that the airport gets to brand the whole city, and without consultation, which is appalling - is that when it became clear that everyone hated it, they opened the floor to suggestions for other signs. As if the hill couldn't possibly survive without of any number of stupid-arse huge-lettered monikers.

    Of course there are more egregious things to worry about in the country, possibly worthier of our outrage, but that people reacted to that particular act of imposition by a corporate board of a message designed to define who we are makes me not sorry at all. Kinda proud actually.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Well it certainly will convey that message for visiting dignitaries, tourists even Monarchy and suchlike as they enter the Capital via aeroplane :)

    Heh, yup, they get to see that NZ actually isn't "Little England" after all, but a nation that makes its own tasteless and lame jokes. Most likely they will then be greeted by some awful Maori tack, during a powhiri. They will not see any actual Maori warriors until they meet the Governor General, our most beautiful mixing of English and NZ silliness in a single human being.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8586 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell, in reply to BenWilson,

    That is actually one of the things I most like about NZ, one of the few things that made me weep as I flew into NZ after my first trip abroad, that it is a place where people are allowed to be tacky.

    And whenever I came back to visit all I could feel was that cultural cringe - "oh god, how sad, they're trying too hard" - now I've moved back I guess I've gotten used to it, still looks tacky though.

    Wellington has that wonderful wild windblown coast you see as you fly in, with scrubby stuff just hanging on the last thing it needs is the tattered remains of a giant sign

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2173 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I think the biggest irritant for me - besides the idea that the airport gets to brand the whole city, and without consultation, which is appalling

    Whilst at the same time unavoidable since the decline of sea travel.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8586 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Well it certainly will convey that message for visiting dignitaries, tourists even Monarchy and suchlike as they enter the Capital via aeroplane :)

    Anyone who can survive the traditional APEC silly shirt perp walk is not going to be terribly traumatised by that. Unless there's a headwind, in which case, I hope Lizzie Windsor doesn't have a corgi in her lap.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12031 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    Wellington has that wonderful wild windblown coast you see as you fly in, with scrubby stuff just hanging on the last thing it needs is the tattered remains of a giant sign

    I will bottle the first person who mentions wind farms. You have been warned.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12031 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    "oh god, how sad, they're trying too hard"

    But they are trying. I personally rate that over not trying.*

    Edit: or worse, not being allowed to try.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8586 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to BenWilson,

    Or getting to the point where you start screaming “do SOMETHING, ANYTHING” – which is rapidly where I’m getting with the Saint James up here. It’s not exactly the foundation of good decision making, but I have to wonder if we’ve learned anything from the near-death experience of the Civic. Stalling with another round of reports stating the bleeding obvious one more time isn't going to make a massive job any easier, cheaper or politically risky.

    (I do hope someone is going to be outraged that I’ve been rude about Auckland. You Wellywooders can just hold your tongues. ;)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12031 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    with scrubby stuff just hanging on the last thing it needs is the tattered remains of a giant sign

    That actually sounds even better, if the sign became like a modern ruin. There was one like it, but much bigger and more visible, in Ponsonby not so long ago. The "HYDRA" sign could be seen from the North Shore. Practically the last sign that Ponsonby had once been a working class neighborhood, when I lived there, and my Pacific Islander neighbors would hack up meat beneath it before retiring to the Gluepot (also gone) for beers, music and fights. Now it's a bank, and the Gluepot is fashion shops. But they kept the Post Office, because it looks all euro and Oldie Worldie, and repaired it at considerable cost, so that it can serve Belgian beer. A stone's throw from there I was whelped in a run down piece of shit cottage with shocking rising damp. My Dad used his kiwi ingenuity to transform it by building an attic room in which his two boys escaped the asthma heaven below. It's the only one in the street, now such things are frowned upon by the millionaire neighbors, who like to preserve the charm of the ramshackle Victorian huts.

    The new owners did do one thing right though, they took down the poplar tree in the back yard. Dad foolishly took a cutting from it and planted it symbolically out the back of their Herne Bay place. Now it's about 200 feet high, causes considerable damage to the property with its roots, casts an acre sized shadow, drops a metric fucktonne of leaves every year, and he can't do a damned thing about it because it has been marked as an important tree for the neighborhood by a bunch of people who don't happen to live under it.

    Is anyone picking up that I'm not a big fan of communally driven fashion sense? To me, it's school uniforms all over again.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8586 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Now, perfectly serious questions for you public policy nerds and legal beagles out there.

    One thing that doesn't sit well with me, on principle, is that the resource consent for this was non-notifiable.

    Question with two follow ups -
    1) How difficult would it be to change the law so every resource consent application has to be notifiable?
    2) Is there any party out there whose policy supports such a change?
    3) Are there any good arguments against?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12031 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to BenWilson,

    Whilst at the same time unavoidable since the decline of sea travel.

    Not really. The airport is perfectly entitled to brand itself - when they say they're wild at heart a) nobody cares and b) it doesn't reflect on the rest of the city.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    Being a petty bourgeois twit, I was bemused (and horrified) that Starbucks opened their first New Zealand offence against good taste on Lambton Quay -- almost literally a stone's throw from a dozen or more superlative cafes. I'm not so sure that reflects badly on anyone or anything other than Restaurant Brands and their customers.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12031 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Being a petty bourgeois twit, I was bemused (and horrified) that Starbucks opened their first New Zealand offence against good taste on Lambton Quay -- almost literally a stone's throw from a dozen or more superlative cafes.

    One of your usual acrobatic equivalences, I assume? You'll note that Starbucks only installed itself, it didn't place a huge sign on the hill behind Parliament that says STARBUCKSWOOD.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • mattgeeknz,

    I’m really sorry if this sounds condescending, and it’s not mean to be, but doesn’t it all boil down to I don’t like it?

    Oh yeah, absolutely. Which is why I’m not arguing that the airport doesn’t have the right to do this. All we can do is tell the airport we don’t like it, as loudly and as insistently as we can. I imagine most civic disputes like this spring from nimbyism. What make this different, as Conal pointed out, is the scale of this thing, which in my view is greater than any of the examples you mention. Not as a sign (I’d be fine with it somewhere less visible), but as an artwork. We’re all neighbours to this, and our neighbour is being an asshole.

    I’m very sorry if you got the impression I’m trying to crush anyone’s dissent.

    At worse, it’s verging on the downright creepy and offensive.

    I agree with you, Craig, I think you’re right about the nature of some of the dissent, particularly where it threatens property rights or anyone’s physical wellbeing. But to borrow a phrase from a local wit: “The small learn to shout the loudest because they have to.” This arrogant and outsized artwork has drawn an outsized response. The airport has reaped what they have sown.

    *

    Another reason I don’t like it is that there’s something really obnoxious about enormous letters. They frustrate abstraction. With, for example, a giant weta sculpture, people can give it any name they like: the insect, the bug, PJ’s puppy, Monty etc., and those names can connote whatever the utterer feels about the artwork. But Wellywood is always going to read Wellywood: it’s so overt. People won’t believe you when you tell them it’s pronounced “Steve is a muppet (the d is silent).”

    Wellington • Since Mar 2010 • 22 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    It's unavoidable that anything the airport puts up will "brand the city" because the airport is how the majority of visitors arrive. Of course they could put something else, or nothing up. But I don't buy that it's an outrage that they have this ability. It's in the nature of an airport.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8586 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    One of your usual acrobatic equivalences, I assume? You'll note that Starbucks only installed itself, it didn't place a huge sign on the hill behind Parliament that says STARBUCKSWOOD.

    It does have a lot of big signs everywhere though. Considerably more square footage than Wellywood will ever have. They're all about town. Even worse, they commit the cardinal sin of actually having shops taking up valuable real-estate that could be used to serve genuine NZ coffee. Is this the kind of coffee we want to brand our city with?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8586 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    One of your usual acrobatic equivalences, I assume?

    You know, Gio -- I'll stop agreeing with you or making jokes at my own expense, m'kay? Shitty coffee-like beverages are one of those things I get cranky (and more than a little boring) about. Most people, I suspect, don't give a rodent's rectum either way.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12031 posts Report Reply

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