Tom Ripon’s art installation, City/Safari, located in the bustling QC centre, is a wholesome and excellent addition to the ambiance of the shopping area. As Ripon’s first installation in Melbourne since 2011 (where it appeared at the NGV), it is also an installation that has incorporated a “game” element, whereupon playing a digital game (scanning codes carefully placed in various parts of the centre) can earn rewards.
First, it is important to discuss the art itself (insofar as art can be separated from its full context). The statues are interesting and colourful additions to the area, and each one has clearly been crafted with care and attention to detail. The neon animal frames make for pleasant viewing and add a shock of colour to the area. Even in the dark, when they are lit up, they are magnificent, and during the day they stand proudly in the centre, drawing attention from passers-by.
Also, despite appearing fragile (and with signs to reinforce the message), these statues managed to withstand quite a buffeting from the wind and the elements, a further tribute to Ripon’s talent.
Building from that, the “hoofprints” of the different animals are evidence that it is always important to look around at your environment, no matter how well you know a place. They are not hidden per se, but if you are in a rush and don’t take a moment to appreciate the environment, you may miss them underfoot. There are plenty of hoofs and tracks to follow, so you can feel like you are in some form of urban safari.
Finally, onto the game itself. Public art is always more interesting when it can be interacted with, and City/Safari is no exception. The game, even without the prize incentive, is a pleasant way to spend a bit of the morning. Whether you are with your family, or wish to indulge in shenanigans yourself, the game is good wholesome fun, that can have you running around the centre. It is played through an AR scavenger hunt app, which is a cool addition to any art installation.
Just make sure you don’t run into tables or chairs around the place – shoppers and café patrons tend not to appreciate getting bowled over it turns out.
The installation is certainly worth checking out, even if you do not feel up to the task of chasing through the QV area searching for hoofprints. Whether you want to go for the game – which is quite fun and engaging – or just to appreciate some art while you peruse the area, make sure to take some time out of your busy schedule to investigate this art installation.
City/Safari is on at QV until Sunday 12 May. It’s a free exhibit – go check it out while you can!