Liberty Street, Enmore
Rows of triangular marks have just been planted on roads in the Inner West. I had to do a bit of research to find out that they are Dragonâ€™s Teeth. To date no fully armed warriors have sprung from the asphalt.
The lexicon of official road signs continues to grow. The rollout of this latest addition apparently began in mid-2009, when the RTAâ€™s press release was dutifully rendered as a news story in the Sydney Morning Herald. These triangular markings are meant to indicate to motorists that they are entering a 40 kmh school zone.
The indignant Mr Peter Olsen, on his School Zone Santa.Com blog, reckons that â€œthe Government has completely lost the plot on school zones. Static markings, including the proposed new â€˜dragon’s teethâ€™ achieve nothing because they do not distinguish between school zone hours and non-school zone hoursâ€, whereas if the school zone instead has flashing lights during the relevant hours â€œdrivers are instantly reminded and can slow down, but then of course the Government can no longer collect speeding fine revenue from themâ€.
Note to apostrophe pedants: Dragonâ€™s Teeth is the official New South Wales Government term for these road marks (see Technical Direction TD 2009 SR02). There is only one dragon involved. It is a particular toothy dragon.
Pitt Street, Sydney
Sydney-based designer Dan Hill has been looking at the pavement. He is interested in capturing everyday examples of how the city assesses invisible or hidden characteristics of its infrastructure and he writes about this in his blog post Sensing the immaterial-material city. You can seeÂ Dan’s photos here. They include shots of people who appear to be sensing the city and he calls these people â€“ with their traffic cones and their fluorescent work jackets â€“ sensors.
Frederick Street, Petersham
Along with their various probes and surveying instruments, an essential item of equipment for these people is the spray can.
Bourke Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
Survey marks on the paving are like an irruption from beneath, disfiguring the surface with a disturbing reminder of what is going on below. The cityâ€™s skin blemishes are spreading.
Bourke Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
The blue ribbon event of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games was the marathon, whose 42 km route wound past Sydneyâ€™s most recognizable icons and through some of its most telegenic suburbs. A few sections of the blue marathon line have been left in place around Sydney, but only where they do notÂ constitute a traffic hazard.
The line was removed from Sydney Harbour Bridge fairly soon after the event, but there are still remnants in several places. Traces of blue are visible on a lane line towards the southern (tollgate) end and also on a large number 3 underneath the arch. I took these photographs early in the morning on 18 March 2007, when people were allowed to walk over the Bridge to celebrate its 75th anniversary.
Â A remnant of the playground or parking lot at what used to be Enmore Boys High School, now a fenced-offÂ piece of waste ground. The scene of a massacre? No â€“ probably somebody practisingÂ with â€˜body outlineâ€™ shapes. But why? And why here?
The body outline is a crime fiction clichÃ©.Â In real lifeÂ police hardly ever draw around corpses but the imageÂ is used by everyone, from advertisers to political protestors, to signify some sort of violent death. There are more pavement bodies inÂ an article I wrote for on-line journalÂ Second Nature –Â â€˜Outlines (Watch this space)â€™Â
Hicks, M. 2009. Outlines (Watch this space). Second Nature 1 (1):124 – 139.