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December 18th 2010
An Assange sculpture for Magnetic Island?

Magnetic Island's Julian Assange drinking fountain Admiration for Magnetic Island's Julian Assange grows exponentially and, this week, one reader called for a statue to the world's wikiest whistleblower to be erected at Picnic Bay.

And while Magnetic Times is generally supportive of generally Assange-supportive efforts we question whether a "statue" is in fact the right approach. Statues have a rather old fashioned connotation and Julian Assange is anything but old-fashioned.

Our friends at Blogging Townsville picked up on the concept and began a facebook poll on the matter asking, "Would you donate $5 to help build a statue of Julian Assange on Magnetic Island?" (click here)

Our preference is however for a sculpture or even an installation which could take on the widest approaches imaginable to celebrating Magnetic's most famous son. Such a work could embrace any materials and ideas appropriate from digital technology to traditional and or recycled materials. Whatever the approach we think the work should embody the independence and free thinking, non-conformism Julian Assange has so creatively brought to the world.

While the tourism industry must be weighing up the options of whether it's a plus or minus to cash in on our controversial son, in drawing on Julian's Magnetic heritage, any work of art that, like so much public art these days, simply plays it safe as an attractive, passive, photo opportunity, would never do justice to our subject.

So what do you think? Should Julian Assange be celebrated with a sculpture and if so what ideas spring to mind? Let's not worry about funding and the formal approaches to council just yet. There's a poll on our front page and lots of space for readers' to get creative in our comments box below.

Article and cartoon: George Hirst

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

An Assange sculpture for Magnetic Island?
David Crusty Herron
December 18th 2010
Whilst the tourism operators are doing their SWOT analysis of the proposal I suggest that a sculpture providing a photo opportunity is an excellent idea. What better means to spread the word? The gospel of Freedom of Information & the rights of the individual to self determination. So I propose the folowing;

The Sculpture;

Julian standing (or seated), next to a waist high 'Egg Timer' WikiLeaks logo -

With one of his hands (right or left depending on which symbolism works best) resting on the top.

The sculptured WikiLeaks Logo could have water leaking from various points - a sort of fountain - solar pump recycled of course (perhaps topping up with recycled water from the Cockle Bay Sewage Treatment Plant)

Next to the Sculpture there could be lectern style brief description (like those already around the island at points of interest) with a touch pad to activate a voice commentary &/or video on the who, what, why, when of WikiLeaks.

The plinth could have something carved on two or four sides, eg; or, WikiLeaks Whistleblower Web... forget the latter... a bit frivilous.

In keeping with Maggies participation in the Solar Cities program, naturally, the sculpture would be solar lit at night.

I sugest that by creating something such as the above we provide a unique attraction with promotional opportunities for tourism. Most importantly we address the issues George mentioned; it is not public art - it is a public symbol. Safe? the sculptures message celebrates our determination to secure freedom of information and the rights of the individual for self determination. Attractive? Not in the usual sense of art. WikiLeaks is & will continue to be a household word. Worldwide. It will be an attraction. Think of WikiLeaks - think of Magnetic Island. It would be interactive. Giving a message. And yes it wiould provide an unusual photo opportunity and assist in spreading the word.
December 18th 2010
Given that he was here as a child for those formative years, one of those cutsie little boy peeing sculptures seems to hit the spot.
Peter Jackson
December 19th 2010
Going with Rolf's suggestion, maybe we could recycle one of the peeing sculptures from the previous Flinders Mall. PJ
Robert van den Berg
December 19th 2010
How commercial, thats not maggie.
And who remembered him? and his mother on the island....?
No one.. yeah crusty? but hey.. this is wrong as he didnt do anything for the island.., and now all of a sutton he is being painted down as the son of maggie.. boooo i say to this.. wrong.. perhaps we can sell t-shirts and cups and stubby holders with his name and face on their..
December 19th 2010
wikileaks pier.
julie v
December 19th 2010
Go Rolf.
Jullian Assange taking a leak.
Works on many levels.
David Crusty Herron
December 19th 2010
Commercial? Of course. Reactionaries and dissidents have potential to publicise their cause. However, the extent and usefulness of this publicity is often restricted and limited, relatively speaking, if knowledge of the cause and it's impact/efects have only a narrow support base.

History indicates that oftimes success in making change happens more effectively and expediently with a broader, vocal and influential support base from a diverse cross section of the community. To achieve this we need to use whatever means available that are appropriate.

If we provide the local tourism industry with a unique & marketable promotional material then they will be assisting the cause and indirectly/directly adding their influence. This is appropriate.

Most of us think globally but act locally. Julian and Wikileaks act globally. The message is global with a local impact.. because it is our individual rights that are affected - and in essence is providing a means to achieve what most of us desire.

So let's get help from the tourism industry to spread the word. Win Win.

Now, whether he did or "-didnt do anything for the island..," in his early years is not of any consequence. It is what he is now and what he is doing now that is important. Wikileaks has the potential to make changes that may have a positive impact on "the island" and for every individual who make it what it is.

Any sculpture or object proposed will Not be just a memorial to Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Per capita Maggie has spawned an incredible number of dissedents & reactionaries with a diversity of just causes, whose actions have changed life & our environment for the better in so many areas and on so many levels of our society. One would hope that whatever object is put in place, it will be a reminder of these islanders and those who will take their places, what they stand for and what has and is being achieved by them.

Like all of us, these islanders, Julian among them, are products of their environmen. Maggie provides some of this environment. It is our past and the people, with their philosophies and ideaologies, we encountered and learned from that help make us who and what we are - and empowers us locally to work toward making global changes.

So let's at least give it a go.
December 19th 2010
Going with the leaks thing, why not a nicely sculptured urinal?
December 21st 2010
Seems we already have that at the terminal, chasmac.
December 21st 2010
Ed, my $500 donation offer still stands, but with progress at this rate, it won't be worth much by the time something finally happens.

Stan PB
Island View
December 21st 2010
When you think of the types of people who might come to visit the childhood home of Assange, I think that any monument would need to be able to be visited in all anonymity and would need to include a free and highly encrypted wifi connection and highly secure server.

Sorry George and Rolf but I'm not sure that electricity and water together is going to work!
December 21st 2010
Given Julian's apparent predilection for complications in his sexual relationships, perhaps we should make it a Cupid sculpture with bow and arrow and of course the leaks.
January 23rd 2011
Might I suggest a combination of fountain and equestrian statue, with the horse taking the leak. That would be impressive and unique enough to attract tourists, and the efforts of the horse would represent the sheer quantity of the leaks.
January 25th 2011
January 24th 2011
Yes! Great FNQ tourism idea too :)
Ture Sjolander
October 1st 2011
The very first original proposal of the Julian Sculpture on top of Mount Cook (497 meter above sea level)was presented and published by me on the internet, well documented and still present.(townsville.homestead)
There you go! Just to let you know...
Al Goater Arcadia
November 7th 2011

Put the Staue in the picnic Bay toilets then all of us can have a leak.
December 1st 2011
Sacrifice the biggest and most visible granite bolder on the Island and carve Julian's head in large scale all over the rock. That will do!

Another great big bolder in Picnic bay could be used for a bronze sculpture of The Man in life-size climbing it, half way up.

Financed by the Townsville City Council of course.

Text plate: Lest we forget.
John Paterson
August 16th 2012
Up above the units on Bright Point: Mount Rushless

What do you think? Send us your comments.

Readers comments
FROM cp_articles
[ read more ]
The poll
Should Magnetic Island commission a sculpture to celebrate the achievements of Julian Assange?
98%       2%
Great idea No thanks

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