Retaining Uncontained

How can we ensure Uncontained street art, like this sea turtle by Smizdog, isn't lost after Festival 2018? PHOTO: Nathan Toll

There’s been plenty of mixed opinions about the Uncontained installation at Townsville’s Strand Park as part of Festival 2018.

The colourfully painted stacks of shipping containers cut quite the figure on our iconic esplanade, but they’ve also cut quite a figure from the Festival 2018 budget with many people pointing out that the only figure we’ll be left with after Festival 2018 is the one cut from the grass for the installations’ footings.

While Townsville City Council has hinted that they are looking into repurposing the Containers once festivities wrap up, no concrete plans have yet been announced. So we’ve rounded up our suggestions for securing the futures of these beautiful pieces.

Townsville’s own Eat Street-style precinct

Foodies flock to Brisbane’s Eat Street markets to sample inventive culinary delights such as the doughnut cone and cheese wheel pasta served from 180 dining and entertainment shipping containers along the Brisbane River. Sure, Townsville falls well shy of 180 containers, but pop a serving window in them, fit them out with a basic commercial kitchen and they’d be fit for a revolving door of food vendors primely positioned to service the many events that already take advantage of Strand Park.

Permanent storage for community groups

Plenty of community groups could utilise the Uncontained shipping containers as on-site storage for the Strand Night Markets, water sports and other regular events. OK, it’s not the most glamorous idea, but practicality is important, too, right?

An outdoor movie screen

Add a flat white face to one of the top level containers and voila! Outdoor movie screen! Perfect for groups like Townsville Classic Films and the Luxlumin project, which sees local multimedia artists project their work on various sites throughout the city, this idea could also be used for Film Festivals, Corporate events and to promote upcoming events and initiatives throughout the city.

An ever-changing street art space

Why have one street art piece per surface, when you could have transitional pieces, constantly shifting and evolving as new artists reinterpret them with their own style? Townsville’s street art projects, like the graffiti walls operated by The Youth Network, have already proven to drastically reduce the amount of illegal graffiti on our streets and, with Townsville quickly making a name for itself as a beautiful street art destination, this is a great way for locals and visitors to engage with work in progress through workshops and artist talks year-round.

Office spaces

If the containers must leave the Strand Park, we’d love to see them sold off to businesses that are willing to keep the external artwork in place and invest in fitting out the internal space in a clever way to make it happen. That way the beautiful artwork the city has invested in can live on somewhere else, where the public can appreciate the pieces for many years to come.

Of course, this is just Team HUXLEY’s office spit-balling (yep – we’re a productive bunch) and no doubt there are many other brilliant ideas for to ensure the large investment in these containers and their sensational artwork continues to generate economic, arts & cultural and community benefits long after Festival 2018. Got your own idea? We’d love to hear it!!

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1 Comment

  • Leaving them where they are may be the only option. The TCC requires engineered footings/foundations for locating containers. I do see examples of where this doesn’t seem to apply. Maybe the TCC have other rules. Moving them and building footings will be expensive. Leaving them where they are probably won’t happen because of the public safety issues.

    It would be a good tourist attraction to leave them where they are. It would get some extra value from the HUGE amount of money that has been spent. I fear we will be left with holes in the ground and the exhibition dismantled with maybe a few containers scattered around the city.

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