design Letterbox | artist and research collaborator Christine Eid (Tow Projects)

Circular offers a quiet discovery. It comprises of eight cast-iron manhole covers set into the footpath of the Main street in Point Cook (South West Melbourne). Working in collaboration with artist Christine Eid, the project involved months of public engagement through which the rich stories of the area and its residents were gleaned. Each typographic plate was meticulously designed to accomodate the rigorous production process.

the project

The project title, Circular, refers to the round format of the cast-iron plate works and to the notion of the ‘community circular’ — a method of circulating information and stories through a community. Research for the Circular project involved listening, preserving and communicating people’s stories. The community engagement told us countless things about the area, its people and their views. One thing became very clear–children and young families are an integral part of Point Cook and its future. The works seek to appeal on an aesthetic level, and to engage with the local community by enlivening their everyday journeys. Rubbings can be made of the plates and the activities can be enjoyed off-site. The project website offers downloads and additional information about the stories in the artwork. We then returned these stories back to the community after the artwork is installed – including trips to schools and other community venues.

The works embrace the key values that came out of the community engagement:
Participation | Ongoing community involvement during and after the work’s design and installation.
Joy | Providing unexpected surprises and discoveries in a pedestrian’s everyday journey.
Playfulness | The activity aspect engages  children and adults through their children and grandchildren.
Education | Local stories of past, present and future – enhancing community awareness and connections.
Poignancy | Although playful in appearance, they are underpinned by underlying cultural meanings.
Community | The works are free, easily accessible, appealing and engaging to pedestrians.

the process

The plates were cnc routed then sand-cast at the Campbellfield iron foundry.
The stories within Circular were informed directly from the aspirations of local community, including children.

The entire project can be viewed at the project website