I like this gathering of green and yellow cables: the neat row of screws, the tidy cable groupings, the curves that make it look like some eighteen-tentacled alien creature (with an added thick tail for balance). While I know that printing onto surfaces other than paper is nothing new, it still amazes me that the information printed onto the plastic is so legible. The colour palette of green and yellow, complemented by the various grey and silver tones of the metal elements, with a highlight of reflective orange from an adjacent metal cabinet, transforms a functional bit of wiring into an industrial sculpture.
Today is shaping up to be another scorcher, but unfortunately all that’s left of this ice works is the name on the front of the building, so no relief from the heat will be found there. I doubt the words were always painted icy white, and while I would like to think that whoever chose the colour did so by design, the cynic in me suspects that the signage was painted over to make it disappear, the easier to lease the premises for other purposes. Meanwhile, the ice works might not be able to help me keep cool today, but I’m going out for lunch, and the pub serves a mighty fine cold beer.
The funny thing about rust is sometimes you take every measure to get rid of it, and other times you can appreciate it’s qualities. I once had an old car which I thought I’d better clean before taking it for its rego check. In doing so I discovered that the water in the back foot well wasn’t actually in the car, but on the road, which I could see through the rusted out hole! Needless to say, that rust was not working in my favour. But rust in a different context takes on a whole other complexion. Like these rusty rails, that are full of character and visual appeal.
I wonder if it is ever possible to successfully analyse one’s aesthetic sensibility. Sometimes I puzzle over why I like the look of some things and yet find other (often much nicer) things completely unappealing. For example, I have no idea what part of my brain or my upbringing or my cultural heritage makes me find this—a fading red number inside a white circle on a dirty grey tank—inordinately pleasing. And the geometric pattern of the rusty stairs only makes it better!
I suppose this warning is somewhat effective because it made me stop to look, but everything seems, proportion-wise, just a little out of whack. Small dinosaur catches a plane mid-flight, just for fun, oblivious to the flames on its back; the written warning—door blows open/shut in the wind—is small enough to require reading glasses and seems unrelated to the plight of the dinosaur; and both are rendered superfluous by industrial-strength door hardware. Regardless (or because of) this, the shapes and textures of paper, plastic, wood and metal, hold great appeal to my aesthetic sensibilities!
It has been raining and raining and raining and raining. The sky seems permanently grey, the air is damp and the ground is soggy. On rainy days traffic doubles, washing stays wet on the line, and I can’t watch Spicks and Specks because ABC reception drops out. And there are no shadows. But one day, when the sun comes out again, shadows—like the one cast by this quirky, rusting, painted metal lettering and the shrub that half conceals it—will reappear, and the sky will be blue again.
I was amused by this footpath message. There was no obvious sign of ingress to the reputed confined space, so a permit would have made no difference at all. As for danger, well really, how dangerous could it be? They didn’t even spring for red paint! As it turned out, the same stencilled words appeared along the road at regular intervals, and I was just lucky enough to find the hatchless one first, posing as a piece of street art.
Every now and then I take a trip down to Botany Bay to take in the view and watch the planes take off and the ships come in to port. Botany Bay is Sydney’s main cargo seaport and two airport runways extend into it, but the northern and southern headlands of the bay are national park. This contrast between protected park and heavy industry is what makes the area so interesting. From the lookout at the end of Prince of Wales Drive, Port Botany, you can look straight out to sea through the headlands of La Perouse and Kurnell, over calm shallow waters that are home to hundreds of territorial marine creatures. In fact when Captain Cook landed at Kurnell in 1770 he named it Sting Ray Harbour after all the stingrays they caught. To the west is the visually rich and fascinating landscape of refineries and containers. I love those towers of containers – the patterns of colour, the marine-inspired names, and of course, the distinctive typography.