Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Lovely Lovely Fountain

London is a beautiful city, typically Canadian and typically Ontario-ian (I just made that word up). It's known as the "Forest City" although we don't actually all live in a forest, it is indeed very green and gardeny. We have thousands of Victorian cream brick houses, wonderful Arts and Crafts bungalows, many examples of "Ontario Cottages", lots of heritage buildings, and numerous old neighbourhoods with plenty of charm. Many would argue that we haven't been as diligent about preserving our older business areas, but that's a flaw that many cities are struggling with. We have lots of museums, galleries and parks, and a thriving university and college community.

The Thames river runs right through the city, splitting into two forks near the city center, and many parks are bordered by the river. I was rather excited last fall to see a large sign proclaiming the imminent construction of the "Blackburn Memorial Fountain" . (And also by the fact that the digging turned up quite a lot of broken glass and china!).
I've been checking it out every now and then to see how it was coming along, and it is now completed and scheduled for a grand launch on Victoria Day in May.
Yesterday I went down to check it out.
It's, well.

Very Cold War era Soviet-esque. Just the thing you want pointing at the playground. ("Yup, swing 'er down a bit Fred, we can blast those kiddies right off the swingsets!")

I actually would like it better if the "missiles" did pivot, but alas they are firmly welded in place. I checked.
(Note that even the Canada goose in the background appears rather ambivalent!)
From the the artists renderings I've seen online it actually will be very pretty when it's actively functioning as a fountain, but... right now? Never have I seen a better example of how public art can be deliberately designed to be the exact opposite of, and utterly inharmonious with it's environment. It's one of the ugliest things I've ever seen. I feel the urge to dig a bomb shelter. But I'll probably just eat a cookie instead.


Veronica said...

Good grief ! That, I think, needs at least two cookies eaten to recover from. I will need to see it in action to think it anything but (more than) a bit aggressive looking !

Karen Elmquist said...

THANK you!

And it's just a matter of time until the local kids adorn it with grafitti and then try to turn it into a skateboard ramp.