Yellow lines painted on the ground at Honeysuckle have people wondering – is this art or a hazard warning?
Glen Fredericks, who owns Empire Coffee Co at Honeysuckle, kicked off a conversation about the painted ground when he posted photos of it on social media.
The yellow lines are part of a “painted art installation” called Honeysuckle Hopscotch.
Glen said the yellow lines looked like “a warning not to walk there”.
“To me, yellow and white lines on the ground isn't art, it's road markings. We'd not consider a zebra crossing to be a mural any more than we should look at this as an art installation.”
The project was done by the University of Newcastle’s School of Architecture and Built Environment. It’s led by Professor SueAnne Ware and PhD design student Nicholas Flatman.
Nicholas said he could understand the comparison with road markings, but it was an abstract artwork based on Aboriginal history and old shorelines.
As well as yellow and white, pink paint was used to spell out the word Meekarlba – the Aboriginal name for Honeysuckle.
Nicholas said the colours were chosen mainly because of their “light reflectance value”.
He said the yellow and white paint had “lighter hues and a higher reflectance value”.
The idea is to reflect some of the heat away from the area in summer.
Nicholas added that the colours “went well with the colour of the concrete”.
He wanted to “drive home that it’s the idea of a student learning experience”.
“The whole installation process was getting the students involved and being able to have a public engagement and this idea of realising a plan in physical space,” he said.
Part of the concept was to add “colour and vibrancy to the desolate and vacant asphalt surfaces”.
Difference of Opinion
Nicholas said the project was “open to interpretation”.
“When we were installing it and kids went past, they were confronted by these lines. They started to hop over them and there’s a different level of interaction,” he said.
“They start to interact with it in a way you wouldn’t have intended. It’s open-ended. I’m happy for people to have different opinions about it.”
Glen agreed that art was open to opinion.
“If people want to disagree with my opinion that's fine. They can come in and check it out and then we can have a conversation over a coffee in my cafe,” he said.
“They'll have to pay for their coffee though,” he said, adding that his business was “still struggling” over a car park closure at Honeysuckle and light rail construction.
On the Money
The Hopscotch artwork is one of five projects that the School of Architecture and Built Environment is doing at Honeysuckle this year. They are part of the “Honeysuckle Placemaking” project along the shore.
The Newcastle Port Community Contribution Fund gave $135,000 for these five projects, while Hunter Development Corporation (HDC) gave its land owner’s consent for them to occur.
Glen said there were “a few things I could have spent the $135,000 on to activate the precinct”.
He said if proper consultation had been done with the local businesses “I think it would have had a very different outcome”.
“Maybe the powers that be should have a chat with me sometime,” he said.
We understand that HDC supports the project and considers it an attempt to do something innovative. It hopes the artwork will attract people to the area.
A New Word
Dr Glenn Albrecht once coined the term “solastalgia”, which referred to distress caused by environmental change and destruction.
Now he’s created the term “alcoalism”.
Glenn, a Hunter resident and honorary associate at the University of Sydney, described it as “a serious addiction afflicting politicians who cannot give up political donations from coal companies”.
His remedy? Alcoalholics Anonymous.
“The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop taking money from coal companies,” he said.