Dragon Head (Ujino)

Dragon Head (Ujino)

The Auckland Council currently runs a 10-day art event “Living Room 2011” (April 8–17), curated by Andrew Clifford, with the theme “Metropolis Dreaming“. One of the items is this sculpture “Dragon Head” by the Japanese artist Ujino, with light and sound effects. It is on Aotea Square, operating between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. In the background the Town Hall.

Somebody had to find a use for the witches hats which clutter up our roads.

From the event website:

Ujino’s Dragon Head sculpture takes the form of an automotive taniwha, a mechanical dragon for the modern age, which will occupy Aotea Square. It will watch over tides of traffic on Queen Street, Auckland’s most iconic road, which was once a stream.

The dragon is a creature common in mythology. The image of the dragon came to Japan from China but this was pre-dated by a belief in river gods visible in rippling water currents, much like the Māori taniwha.

With his latest work Ujino substitutes river currents for the flow of vehicles, a contemporary beast that epitomises the last half-century of globalisation. Like the dragon, international car culture – a primary source of worldwide tension – appears in different forms and meanings in each society, where it has its own history and cultural background, although the technology remains constant.

Ujino’s dragon is built from abandoned cars, everyday appliances and local street paraphernalia, taking the detritus of contemporary consumer society and turning it into a giant, celebratory beat-box.