Poetry and other ponderings of eight notable New Zealanders are adorning the underbelly of a well-known Auckland harbour bridge, in a $ 300,000 project.
The Transport Agency is using words writ large of such literary luminaries as Janet Frame, Bruce Mason, Frank Sargeson and A.R.D. Fairburn to make Stokes Pt beneath the northern end of the bridge less gloomy (…).
Passages from Maurice Duggan, Kendrick Smithyman and Robyn Hide are also wrapped around the bridge supports, as is a quotation from the Waitakere chief Te Waatarauihi, talking in 1860 about his relationship to the area.
Designer Catherine Griffith, who had established a name for typography in the landscape – see for instance her monumental concrete Wellington Writers Walk slabs – picked the capitals of Hoefler & Co’s VerlagBold (2006) and had them painted around eight of the bridge’s “clip-on” legs. Despite (or because of?) the scale of the project, the typography resembles the kind of typography that you might find on a chapter opening spread of a print publication, transferred to an industrial background without much ado.
The extracts of poetry wrap themselves around the steel columns, the fixed line length determines the shape and form of each, and requires the reader to move with the work, to spend time with the words, the sounds they make, meanings that are formed; to arrive at the work from any point, whether in full or part.