Arts & Entertainment


It was Frank Zappa who once said that “art was making something out of nothing and selling it”. With the 19th Biennale of Sydney looming large for March of next year we thought it appropriate to throw our creative hat in the ring and suggest a truly unique attraction that could well redefine this event.

You might have already guessed that we are talking about the “Fatberg”, the massive 15 tonne ball of congealed fat recently dredged from a London sewer. Supposedly the size of a double-decker bus, the humungous blob took an excruciating ten days to remove from the drain, which had reduced to a five percent capacity.

Although it was dismantled in sections we have it on good authority that it was later reassembled at a secret landfill site, purely for a series of well deserved happy snaps with the sanitary workers involved in the salvage. There it sat in all its gruesome glory for at least a couple of days, whilst everybody from advanced bioengineers through to archivists from the British Museum examined it. Even London’s eccentric Lord Mayor Boris Johnson paid the fatberg a visit, declaring it an icon of the urban grotesque that should be preserved for generations to come.

As far as we know the mighty fatberg is still intact, a seething, writhing ecosystem of bacteria, methane and just good old-fashioned ‘gunk’.  You might be disgusted, but it is after all a living thing and not since Jeff Koons’ “Puppy” bloomed for all to see in front of the Sydney MCA, has a man or woman-made creation been so utterly alive.

Imagine the sensation that the fatberg would create if it was shipped to Sydney for next year’s Biennale and floated down Sydney Harbour towards Cockatoo Island where it would be installed for the duration of the event. A metaphor for not only the indecency of the food that we waste and our fouling of the environment, it would also provide an almost playful, interactive environment for those that chose to climb on board!

Kiddies and adults alike would be encouraged to don colourful hazmat suits and explore the fatberg like some kind of miasmic jumping castle, squelching their way across its vast expanses and revelling in the sheer yuckiness of it all. Sydney loves a light show and at night the ‘berg’ would become a canvas for all manner of visual projections, illuminated to the extent that it would even be visible from the International Space Station.

By the Biennale’s end the fabulous fatberg would have been totally embraced by both the Sydney artistic community and the public at large. Goyte would be commissioned to write a song about it, Clover Moore would present it with the keys to the city and even James Packer would put in a bid to have it installed as a foyer feature in his Barangaroo Casino.

Rather than return the big ball of bacteria to some God-forsaken landfill site on the outskirts of London, the Biennale could reap a veritable fortune by marketing tiny lumps of the berg in thousands of lava lamps on sale in the MCA gift shop and at Coles Supermarkets throughout the state. Truly, art for the people!

THE HIT LIST: In a couple of weeks time this column will have racked up number two hundred and to celebrate we are staging a special night at the Mu-Meson Archives in Annandale on ThursdaySeptember 12th, along with the original FBi Naked City crew of Jay Katz, Miss Death and Coffin Ed and some incredible video footage of Sydney now and then.

Details at:

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