Australia is back at it. Melbourne artist and engineer Mike Hewson created a "risky play park", drawing ire from parents and delight from local children. It looks totally badass, full of ziplines and suspended nets, and is absolutely the kind of thing I'd have wanted to hop on ten years ago and given my mother a heart attack in the process.
Hewson staunchly defends the installation, his fourth such project in recent years:
"It was absolutely rammed on the weekend," he told Guardian Australia in February. "The proof is in the people who are there."
While Hewson says that all of his playgrounds are public art "outcomes", announcing them as such may stir up an even bigger stink. "The community hugely scrutinises public art spending," says Hewson. "But they come around when something has a function. No one's going to go to a sculpture every day, but they'll go to a playground all year."
Evidently, Melbourne has taken his side. What do you think? Despite its intimidating appearance, the playground is replete with safety features, including soft-fall foam flooring that only looks like Melbourne's classic bluestone. Is it worth giving kids a robust play space if it comes with increased risk, no matter how relatively small that risk may be? I leave that to the concerned parents of Melbourne—but personally, you'd have to wrestle me away from this thing even in my twenties.