The worm has turned up

A giant glowing worm has appeared above ground at the Dunedin Botanic Garden.

It is not a supernatural phenomenon, but the city's latest piece of public art. The flexible worm, which can bend because it is constructed from thousands of pieces of interlocked and articulating marine-grade stainless steel, was installed over the past two days.

Manufactured in Hamilton, it was transported to Dunedin in two pieces and welded together by Farra Engineering on site at the garden.

The $85,000 worm was designed by Christchurch artist Julia Morison and commissioned by the Dunedin City Council using funds bequeathed to the garden, to celebrate the garden's 150th anniversary this year. Morison was in the city to oversee her creation's installation.

She said she chose a worm because of the mythological symbolism of Ouroboros, a worm-like creature, usually shown as a snake, which eats its own tail, symbolising constant recreation, and for the more down-to-earth reason that worms were the workers in a garden.

''They are kind of unsung heroes, and many unsung heroes have probably worked in the garden over the years, so I liked that.''

Hence, the sculpture would have two titles - Ouroboros and worm.

Morison said she had been aware of concerns about the process used to commission the piece, but had no comment, other than to say she could not have made the sculpture within the $60,000 budget the council had initially indicated for the project.

She was excited to see the worm installed.

Fascinated adults and children swarmed around the sculpture as soon as it was opened at 10am yesterday.

''It sits here really well. It has been a challenge and we had to make a few tweaks, but I'm very pleased with it,'' Morison said.

Botanic garden team leader Alan Matchett said the sculpture was an instant hit.

''Straight away, there were people all over it and walking around it. It's pretty impressive. It fits in the area really well,'' he said.

''I think it's going to change a few people's opinions when they see it. The right decision was made.''


Dunedin gets a Morison

J. Morison is highly regarded as a performance artist of considerable creativity. 'Ourobos' is an entertaining, functional al fresco artwork of mythological themes. Let's not condemn a jobbing artist for taking a DCC commission.

Kids are easily amused

No doubt, they would be happy with a bag of crisps too. It has some  things in common with the Mona Lisa though- its just as ugly and worth no where near the cost.

It's art... Get over it.

Any piece of art will never appeal to everyone at once - I recall reading criticism of the Mona Lisa..!

If we'd waited until something was found that everyone was happy with, well, we'd still be waiting...

Looking at the photos, seems the kids are happy with it.

Dunno about $85,000

Might be worth $8.50 at the big yard on Portsmouth drive. That's where it would be heading if I found it cluttering my lawn.

Worm and landscaping spend

Interesting as always to read your columnist Peter Entwisle's opinions of the stainless Ouroboros at the Botanic Garden (Art Beat, 23.12.13), and the shoddy process adopted by the city council. This alien is planted in an exceptionally poor section of 'landscaping' - a meaningless affront of professionally laid and poorly envisioned hard paving, with a 'playground' landing pad. The effect of this cynical deadening forecourt on the tea kiosk with its umbrella-style roof is harsh and fully remiss, architecturally - a boffin job of worst kind. Even the ducks are electing to rest for the evening on nearby lawn - having left their excrement across the pavers. Not sure this metalwork is composting!

On Sunday afternoon I was photographing the wormy presence, it's bluntly phallic at the supported 'head' end... when a local resident asked me what I think of the whole thing. Not a good thing to say. He wasn't terribly impressed either - he said the project in total was worth about $150,000. For such a cruel mess. 

Poor Wendy and ... Attendants, they need rescue! The fairy tale plot is lost, crashed, abused.

The worm

It's easy to waste other people's money isn't it, be it money left by an old gentleman or the rate payers, but the worst thing about this worm is nobody in Dunedin got a look in, new city logo Dunedin a small suburb of all the big cities in New Zealand with no civic pride whatsoever, and run by clowns.

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