You know the feeling – there’s a warm breeze, everyone’s well fed and happy, the kids are fun to be around. Who wants to go home? Rather than board the sky train home, we decide to take a night walk around Sentosa island. The sea breeze is in our hair, the trees softly swaying, I’m quietly humming. Perfect night!
If you haven’t been to Singapore the dragon walk is one of those amazing structures made of free form concrete and covered in mosaic tiles. It’s always amazing how we can look at a structure that probably took six artists, three concrete trucks, two tile factories and 75 shift workers three years to build and think, “I could make that!” That would look good in my back yard. Daryll starts snapping away and I know he’s thinking the same thing.
The kids are playing in the water fountains as it’s late at night and there’s no security guards to yell at them to get out. They start calling out, “Hey, Mum, Dad, can you build this at home?”, and our brain cells don’t do what is required of them which would be:
“No way man, have you seen how many trillions of tiles there are in there, not to mention the water solution problems, the plumbing, the pipes required to hook that up. Never mind the council permits that would be required and the fact that all four acres of it would require a pool fence to stop the neighbours’ kids drowning. No way kids – it’s not going to happen!”
That is the correct response to the question, but do our brains do that? Oh no, we are on holidays – anything is possible. We start thinking, “Well sure, how hard could it be? We could lay out some rocks, cover them with chicken wire, coat that with concrete – we can get a cheap concrete mixer for $300 on eBay – then we could scrounge around old op shops for crockery and tiles and break it up, waterproof the concrete with a paint-on membrane and hook up fountains and pumps and begin tiling it. It will be fun. We can all chip in and help. It will be terrific, we’ll be splashing around creating this great piece of artwork together as a family and it will all look spectacular.”
What goes on with that process? How does this happen? Where do the brain cells go? It’s not just a whim. In this moment, we REALLY believe we can build this thing and, trust us, it will look equally as good as this one we are currently admiring.
It’s not just us that thinks this way – we’ve seen YouTube images of people that have been equally inspired! They dig holes in the backyard. They line them with wire and concrete, they waterproof them and fill them with water and they stand proudly back and admire them, shooting away on their video recorder – and they are … awful!
We all look and say, “What were they thinking?” Well I know what they were thinking. I know the vision they started with. It may have looked similar to what is shown above, because in my head it was possible too.
It’s just some strange twist of artistic ineptitude that the finished project doesn’t resemble the original image. But, you know what? It doesn’t matter. Who cares? They came, they saw, they replicated and in their mind it looks as magnificent as the dragon walk at Sentosa.
Lesley Mitchell, with her husband Darryl, runs the Renascent College in Warrandyte, VIC.
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