Spitting is as natural to the Chinese as blowing our noses Nanchong Travel is to us. They believe the phlegm must be expelled from the body. The hotel Nanchong Travel in Chengdu had soft beds and ample hot water every evening, and the city was small enough to be fun by bicycle. In the old part of town the buildings lean against each other, the upper walls are whitewashed between their dark beams; their upper storey leans outward with a balcony and overhanging roof, supported by wooden angles. Some houses have intricately carved wooden supports, latticework and Chinese lions. Balconies seem tacked on to houses as rickety bamboo afterthoughts.
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This chapter explores a series of site-specific public artworks situated within the geography of a semi-privatized motorway on the southeastern edge of metropolitan Melbourne. It examines how the artworks form connections through a series of complex, compelling, affective and relational assemblages and sensibilities with motorists driving the route. The EastLink Tollway operates as a paradigmatic user-pays road that reflects the â˜historic link between economic liberalism and automobility’ (Davison 2004: 243) embedded in the city’s urban consciousness. It represents neo-liberal conditions of privacy, individuality and flexibility associated with political, economic and cultural characteristics of urbanization and globalization consistent with the spatial, temporal and material qualities of outer suburban Melbourne, which are also emblematic of many contemporary cities. It also represents a significant urban development project designed to re-activate a dormant stretch of semi-industrial/rural land providing the opportunity for an expansion in the commercial interests and individual lifestyle, consumption practices of outer-suburban residents.
Sited in a prominent position along the Tollway roadside is Callum Morton’s evocative artwork, Hotel (2008). A scaled model of a multi-story hotel, it simultaneously embodies imaginative, generic and symbolic notions of both the local and global characteristics of contemporary cities, while producing a compelling relationship between the passing motorist and the material, temporal and spatial geographies of the route. By mapping the dynamic relationship between the artwork and motorist, this chapter unlocks the complex, discursive and visual qualities of Hotel, and its site-orientated identity within the roadscape of the EastLink Tollway, while seeking to demonstrate how site-specific public art can allow for a re-imagining and re-configuring of the urban environment.