Public gets to play with city sculpture

The Beat Connection

JONATHAN CARSON
Last updated 08:41 20/11/2012

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The gleaming stainless steel creation "Beat Connection" was officially gifted to the people of Hamilton at a public ceremony last night.

The event started at 5.30pm with a Maori blessing and an invitation for all to walk around the sculpture and to trace their hands along it, signifying the transfer of their heartbeats, or life, to the cold steel of the artwork.

Te Pumanawa O Te Whenua - Beat Connection, created by multimedia artist Seung Yul Oh, represents a heartbeat, and was designed with its location, outside the Claudelands Events Centre, in mind.

"It talks of connections not just to the land and to this place, but, because it's got a heartbeat connection, it connects us to the activities within this centre," Mesh chairperson Nancy Caiger said.

Whether it be a Sonny Bill Williams boxing match, a rodeo or a concert, the sculpture captured the excitement and anxiety of the events hosted at Claudelands, she said.

Mayor Julie Hardaker said the sculpture was "spectacular" and "beautiful" - an asset for Hamilton.

"It gives me great pleasure and quite a bit of emotion, I must say, to accept this on behalf of our city."

Following the cutting of a yellow ribbon, Seung Yul Oh was invited to be the first person to "interact" with it.

Members of the public soon followed his lead, sitting, laying down and playing on the artwork.

One city councillor was even seen planking on the structure.

Twins, Edward and Grace Clarkson, aged 11, were sliding along the steel following the formalities.

"I think it's really good. Some sculptures, you have to stand behind a white line and look at it," Edward said.

But this one was "the equivalent of a playground".

Public Art Panel chairperson Dr Carole Shepheard said the work was "simple and elegant" but admitted that "art's going to always polarise people".

Seung Yul Oh said he was privileged to create the work for the city.

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- Waikato

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