Assessment Task#3 - Example of artefact rewrite
Artefact#1 GAS FIREBALLS AT CROWN Groups members Brian Morris (s123456), Deb Verhoeven (s234567), Fincina Hopgood (s345678), Grant Bailey (s23456789). [IMAGE OF ARTEFACT] The presence of one of Melbourne’s inner-city landmarks, the gigantic Crown Casino Entertainment Complex (which opened in 1997), is writ large through its waterfront ‘sign’ of eight towers that shoot enormous gas-fed fireballs twenty metres into the air, once an hour, every night. When those fireballs explode, light, heat and sound combine to produce an ethereal moment that seems to temporarily transport you out of everyday Melbourne into some other place and time.
To drive past or cross one of the nearby footbridges and walk towards the Crown complex as the fireballs erupt is to experience not only a place but a cinematic moment. The spectator’s mobile body functions as a slowly tracking camera moving like the now conventional establishing shot towards its object of fascination. More specifically, the flames that erupt at Crown eerily evoke the first few minutes of Bladerunner (1982) where the screen version of an imagined future cityscape of Los Angeles in the year 2019 is similarly punctuated by gas fireballs. As the film progresses, and we descend from our aerial vantage point and travel inside and around the city of Bladerunner—and here I would suggest a direct parallel with a walk inside and around the vast interior spaces of Crown—we find a curious mixture of the familiar and the strange, of the industrial and post-industrial, past and future, the utopic and dystopic, co-existent spaces and times, the extraordinary and the everyday, and the pleasures and anxieties that beset living across these different moments and affects. The fireballs may temporarily halt us in our footsteps but they also invitingly beckon us through their suggestion of similar thrills within Crown’s walls.
Crown is as much a media construction as it is an architectural site, a product of what theorist Paul Virilio calls the ‘special effects of communications machines, engines of transfer and transmission’(p.26). In The Lost Dimension he comments that ‘Las Vegas,’ is no longer fixed to a stable location in the Nevada desert because it is continually being dispersed and (re)constructed through technologies of communication and entertainment. Today, Virilio’s observations on the relationship between urban form and popular entertainment can be credited with a considerable degree of prescience; particularly in light of the emergence and pervasive spread of a number of distinctive mixed-use, large-scale, entertainment-oriented urban developments around the world (see Hannigan 1998, Sorkin 1992). These developments point to the increasing centrality of a globalised cultural field of entertainment—which includes, of course, forms like cinema and television as well as a host of new multimedia technologies—to both representations and the material fabric of the contemporary city.
In a city long characterised as culturally conservative—in Victoria legal gambling sites were, until the 1990s, relatively restricted—the opening of Crown communicated a significant cultural change. As Dovey (2005,
p.66) notes, this billboard and its associated television advertisements signified to locals 'a different kind of cityâ€”a city of carnival, risk and abandon, where old identities could be discarded along with the planning codes and public debate'.
References Dovey, K 2005, Fluid City: Transforming Melbourne's Urban Waterfront, UNSW/Routledge, Sydney/Oxfordshire. Hannigan, J 1998, Fantasy City: Pleasure and Profit in the Postmodern Metropolis, Routledge, London. Sorkin, M (ed) 1992, Variations on a Theme Park: The New American City and the End of Public Space, Hill and Wang, New York. Virilio, P 1991, The Lost Dimension, trans, D. Moshenberg, Semiotext(e), New York.