12 May, 2011

The hard stuff

There's a street in my 'hood that I refer to as the place where architects get to try out their first drafts. It's a dead end, and each of the twenty or thirty houses have been built to a completely different, and often quite eccentric, design. There's a Tuscanate three-storey villa, a prison-like edifice with all its windows facing the creek and bathroom slits facing the street. Some are boxes: four walls, all right angles, no eaves, no bay windows, nothing to break the brickwork. There are shadier bungalows and, at the end of the street, a McMansion, replete with double entry doors and floor-to-ceiling, black-tinted windows.

Regardless of design, each house has been built to take up every centimetre of the width of its block. They're all free standing, but the gap between neighbours isn't much thicker than the mortar between bricks.

Walking through it today, I could have renamed it the Street the Hard Waste collectors forget. Out mouldering in the rain were a few old lounge suites, embarassing artworks and dried tins of paint. Close enough to every house had at least one television out the front. In the case of the McMansion there were four, plus a hard drive and a DVD player. One house was disposing of a food processor, blender, upright vacuum cleaner and various other plug-and-plastic kitchen appliances.

We have one telly. And have had the same one for over five years. I can't imagine having four to give away. As they squat in the rain, or tip forward to shatter on the pavement, or succumb to rabble-rousers, it's depressing to see how quickly they become unusable as an appliance, when it will take generations for them to return to what they were made of.

Please tell me there's an artist out there with a submission in to take all these tellies - and their embedded energy, plastic and water - and turn them into a worthwhile art installation.

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