bilateral kellerberrin

May 17, 2005

Kellerberrin Tuesday 17 May 2005

Filed under: keller dailies — Lucas @ 6:02 pm

I spent most of yesterday neatly painting thin black lines on the walls of the Kellerberrin council chambers. I’ve been employed by the shire to come up with a “new hang” for the group portraits of past and current councillors. A prestigious contract indeed, and my first “permanent” public commission! A lot of the planning and plotting happened late last week. The design involves a kind of flow chart “diagram” concept.

I had hoped to save labour by using electrical tape for the black lines which chronologically link one portrait to the next. But after a the weekend, the tape I’d stuck to the wall was looking a bit “loose.” The wall has a funny coarse render finish. So black paint it was, in the end, and many hours of painstaking brushwork.

Personally, I think it looks great. It’s a hoot, actually. The sequence starts to your left as you enter the room, with the 1933 Kellerberrin Road Board photo, followed by 1954 and then up to 1965, when the Keller Road Board became a “shire” in its own right. The 1965 photo is slightly smaller than the rest. (After 1965, there is a standardisation in framing, which made my job a lot easier). Post 1965, the array of photos then goes a bit crazy, zapping up and down, and forming an overall “cloud” which increases in breadth as it moves towards the middle of the room (this is not a great description – and I’m lazy because I know the photo below is going to be worth a thousand words) … then you have a big gap, about three quarters of the way to the back wall. This allows space for the data projector, which beams up onto the wall from the council’s big table. After the projector-space, the sequence begins again, but is only “sketched in” – as these spaces are allotted for future photographs…

council chambers wide shot

council chambers photos

Besides the first two black and white photos, which are preserved quite well, the diagram is also a chart of archival degradation. The loss in colour of these photos becomes more dramatic the further back you go in time. And although the more recent shots seem quite vibrant in comparison, one wonders whether they are going to fare any better in the future.

Sadly, many many council photos are missing from this archive. For some reason, until the late 1980s, the council members did not reliably sit down and pose for a picture. This is a shame, for two reasons. First, those people miss out on being part of history. Secondly, the missing years make it more difficult for an outsider like me to pinpoint the transitions in clothing and hairstyles of Kellerberrin councillors over time.

During the day, I met various people who work for the council. Raymond I’d already met when Pauline first brought me in to the council to tee up the job. He’s a young fellow, (the shire clerk?) who also plays on the Keller footy team. He recently broke his right ring finger during a game. It’s all trussed up and has pins in it. Raymond was the main sounding board for this crazy hang. He was, how can I put it, “cautiously optimistic” the whole way through, which gave me hope.

Frank, the CEO, I had met before too – he was the voice of the “Ranger, Pontifex, Doncon” symphony during the recent council elections. Frank, also, gave the diagrammatic concept his support from the start, when Pauline and I had pitched it to him. Yesterday, he was just worried about whether I’d have it finished on time for today’s council meeting. He kindly let me keep working til after six and made a special trip back to work to lock up for me.

The office girls, Diane and Gemma, loved the layout. “Oh it looks so much better!” they said. They helped me out with things like stepladders, pencil erasers, sharpeners, Windex…

Mick Cole, on the other hand, was “cautiously pessimistic”. “I would use blue lines, not black, and thinner than that,” he said, after I’d already purchased a pot of black paint. “Thin blue lines.” I’m not exactly sure what he meant by that…

Pauline dropped by, and Donna too. Pauline made a few excellent aesthetic suggestions, which I followed. She kept asking about what the other council folk were thinking. She was a bit worried that people would regard this gesture as her “last hurrah” before leaving the council, but I think that is almost guaranteed. People of vision like Pauline have a moral obligation to make stuff happen. She’s prepared to take risks and try out something new. She deserves a last hurrah.

3 Responses to “Kellerberrin Tuesday 17 May 2005”

  1. Josh (Worthy half brother) Says:

    The layout looks great Luca!

  2. Chris-o Says:

    Maybe people will sit there in meetings, at times bored, and daydream about what those empty spaces will hold. Maybe those empty spaces will invite imagination and vision – good things to be stimulating in the council chambers (even if it means nodding off for a little while).

  3. Mick Cole Says:

    Hi Lucas,
    Just an aside reference your remark on the sustainability of the coloured photos over a number of years. All photographs will deteriate if left in the light, ie. hanging on the wall. However the last three photographs in this series have been printed on archival paper using quality ‘perma-colour’ Epson inks and are guaranteed to have a live of 80 – 90 years. Who will be here to confirm this?

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