Circular Projects » project-page1

Circular (2010) is a public art project by typographer Stephen Banham from Letterbox and artist Christine Eid from TOW. Commissioned by VicUrban and Walker Corporation, the works form part of the Wyndham City Council collection. Art consultants Global Art Projects are the commissioning managers.

Circular is a series of eight cast-iron works installed along the footpath of Main Street, Point Cook, 23km from the city centre of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia. Quietly integrated into the streetscape, the works playfully take the familiar form of manhole covers while referencing the stories, values and diversity of the Point Cook area.

The works seek to enliven the public space and enhance the pedestrian’s everyday journey. They engage pedestrians and seek to inspire and encourage public curiosity about the local environment and community. You can even make rubbings of them.

Located on both sides of four pedestrian crossing points, the works provide opportunities for discovery. They are places of contemplation, a pause in the pedestrian’s journey, and an opportunity to engage with the stories.

The project title, Circular, refers to the round format of the cast-iron plate works and to the notion of the ‘community circular’ — a method of circulating information and stories through a community.

Research for the Circular project involved listening, preserving and communicating people’s stories. It also includes returning these stories to the community after the artwork is installed.

The community engagement told us countless things about the area, its people and their views. One thing became very clear–children and young families are an integral part of Point Cook and its future. The works seek to appeal on an aesthetic level, and to engage with the local community by enlivening their everyday journeys.

The artworks engage adults through the appeal to children. The works embrace the key values that came out of the community engagement:

Participation: Ongoing community involvement during and after the work’s design and installation.
Joy & Adventure: Providing unexpected surprises and discoveries in a pedestrian’s everyday journey.
Playfulness: The activity aspect engages  children and adults through their children and grandchildren.
Education: Stories of the local area – past, present and future – are reflected in the works, enhancing community awareness and making connections with local cultures.
Poignancy: Although the works have a playful appearance, they are underpinned by underlying cultural meanings and significance to the community.
Community: The works are free, easily accessible, appealing and engaging to pedestrians.

Rubbings can be made of the plates and the activities can be enjoyed off-site. The project website offers downloads and additional information about the stories in the artwork.