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First ever street waste sculpture comp held

Sean Kerrigan judges the finished piece by The Ilk Assemblage team
'Taniwha' by the Trash Transformers
Purple Leaf Productions digs for treasure
The Street Trash Sculpture Clash competition transforms waste into art...Making big, bold, eye-opening sculptures on the sunny streets of Otara was the goal of four fired-up teams looking for first pr


The Street Trash Sculpture Clash competition transforms waste into art...

Making big, bold, eye-opening sculptures on the sunny streets of Otara was the goal of four fired-up teams looking for first prize in a sculpture competition held on a Sunday afternoon this September. 

Sculptures could only be constructed using junk found in the curbside trash-heaps lying waiting for the council's inorganic collections.

Judges Martin Horspool and Sean Kerrigan, two well-regarded sculptors in their own right, had the unenviable task of selecting the winning team.

With only two and a half hours on the clock, and a whole neighbourhood for an audience, the pressure was on. 

One of the teams, Purple Leaf Productions, made up of film industry set-builders and film makers, decided on a quiet cul-de-sac for their sculpture location. 

They unearthed some quirky finds, including a few discarded dolls' heads, a lightbox, typewriter and, most usefully, a large metal shelving frame, for their concept of a futuristic communications control station.

As one resident said, who's junk was being used - 'I didn’t want it for anything in particular, but as I see there, its being used for something good.'

It was quickly apparent to them, and all the other teams competing, that their efforts were being well received.   'The Ilk Assemblage', made up of art and craft enthusiasts, found themselves to be the focus of curious local kids who, once all their questions about the competition were satisfied, decided to serenade the strangers, guitar in hand. 

As one of the teams members mentioned - 'We have good community support with our fanclub here.  They have been helping out by bringing more stuff from down the street for our creation.'  A comment that was soon followed up by another from one of the locals – 'Thanks for doing it on our street, that's real cool!'

'The Trash Transformers' attracted youngsters of a more riotous bent and the team was soon caught between sides of a supersoaker battle while in mid-construction of their giant colourful plastic-toy taniwha, complete with big googly eyes and miniature kids' slide tongue.

It was, however, 'The Roots' who made the biggest impression.  Made up of architects and designers, they mostly hailed from the greater Otara area and so already had home-ground advantage.  They built a giant sign spelling out the word O – T – A – R – A, using all variety of domestic paraphernalia. 

With rousing public support aside, the craftsmanship of the finished product and its showy esthetics was more than enough to win them the trophy, a unique sculpture handmade by assemblage artist, Andrew Hall.

The Street Trash Sculpture Clash is the brainchild of West Auckland-based film-maker, Davian Lorson, who realised earlier this year that some parts of the city were having their inorganic collection services cut back. 

"I wanted to promote the benefits of these council services.  We are living in a time when recycling is becoming a real necessity and this system really makes the most of this reuse/recycle mentality."

A short documentary covering the day will be used to launch a new online hub 'These Interesting Times', which will profile interesting projects happening around Auckland.

The event was sponsored by immersive art fun-firm, Vibracorp.  "We like to get people paticipating in art and we are all about interactive experiences, so this event was really a Vibracorp type of thing",  said Elise Sterback from Vibracorp. 

Ecostore kindly donated a prize pack for the event and Bunnings Warehouse Manukau pitched in with building consumables. 

Locals and competitors were so enthused by the project that, as the sun set on a Sunday afternoon well spent, the last call of the day from those involved was “see you next year!”.

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Written by

Elise Sterback

4 Oct 2012

Interests Arts policy researcher for The Big Idea Assist and Working Group member of Creative Coalition.