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ON THIN ICE: Occupation: Artist at Wellington Parking Day 2017
Occupation: Artist’s proposal for PARK(ing) Day 2017 was accepted by the Wellington Sculpture Trust in early February and so began a series of tests, a great deal of phoning and emailing plus a whole lot of problem-solving. The idea was to cover our parking space with crushed ice, title Thin Ice. After a test we worked out that we would need at least 1 ton! Bagged ice would have worked but was way out of our budget. Icepoint out at Granada North offered some great suggestions but none worked (no access to a forklift, no towbars/cars able to move 1 ton). Solution was to hire a small truck – great solution but none of us felt comfortable with driving said vehicle – enter our Knight in Shining Armour – Jack Gollop! Jack has recently started studying again at Whitereia (having had a break of a couple of years) – he works part-time driving a truck and solved one of our main problems – yay!
We also realised from the test that we would need to make some kind of frame to support and shape the ice. Sarah found the 6 metre planks at Hirepool and we visited the Happy Valley recycling shop for timber for the 2 metre boards. Jack again came to the rescue helping to build the corner bracing system.
The weather all week had been looking horrible for Friday 10th March, but we all did the anti-rain dance and ended up with weather very like last year – beginning still and cloudy with sun breaking through late morning and ending in a beautiful day.
Walking the 6 metre planks down through town to our site in lower Cuba was a bit of a mission – they were much heavier than we anticipated and it ended by being a relay. Caroline and Sarah set up the frame while Jack and Viv headed out to pick up the ice. The moment the ice started to fall into the truck we knew this was going to be a great day – it was so beautiful.
Back to town and began shovelling the ice into the space when someone from the sports gear shop came out to watch and was so excited that we were bringing them ‘snow’. A few minutes later he emerged fully clad for a day on the slopes and proceeded to ski-jump off the back of the truck and ski down the parking space – it was brilliant and felt life can’t get much better than that kind of reaction to our artwork.
We filled in the space and tamped the ice down against the frame and held our breaths while we removed the planks – the ice held the shape beautifully – and we were left with a stunning, crisp rectangle of crystalline white – result!
It was a fantastic day with great neighbours (Fiona and Birgit and the Sculpture Trust across the road), but so many people locals and visitors out enjoying all the amazing artworks all the way up Cuba street. Great conversations and lots of positive feedback and we are already thinking ‘what can we do next year’. Thanks Wellington Sculpture Trust (especially Jhana Millers and Wellington City Council) and everyone else who contributed to making a wonderful experience.
Viv Atkinson, March 2017