Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/04/24/sydney_son_et_lumiere/

Sydney skies menaced by deadly raygun disco-ball

Avant-garde public artwork almost downs traffic chopper

By Lewis Page

Posted in Law, 24th April 2008 09:35 GMT

Most readers will be aware by now of the recent spate of laser-pointer yobbo dazzle harassment attacks on aircraft in Australia. Now, however, aviators above Sydney are being threatened by a new brand of malefactor - municipally-funded modern artists.

It seems that Sydney traffic-chopper reporter Vic Larusso fell victim to the deadly new trend yesterday evening. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the hapless newshawk was airborne above Parramatta in the west of the city when a local avant-garde artwork brought terror to the skies.

"He was struck in the right eye by a green laser beam," according to the Herald, "from a council art installation in the Parramatta central business district".

Sydney plods confirmed that the deadly exhibit was well known to them, presumably having caused other potentially-fatal incidents in which city blocks or entire skyscrapers might have been destroyed by crashing aircraft.

Apparently the murderous objet d'art resembles a kind of raygun-equipped 70s disco ball. Extensive* research has as yet failed to turn up any pics, presumably because the scintillant sculpture tends to burn out any camera pointed at it.

"It's meant to make the ground look pretty," the Sydney law told the Herald. "But it is bouncing off a few things and into the skies."

The police, in an attempt to prevent any further deadly disco-ball dazzle disasters, have seemingly pleaded with Parramatta council to shut the infernal installation down. But the requests have been ignored by crazed political intelligentsia.

The council says that the installation in question is called "Flock", and that it is a "visual masterpiece... Inspired by the eel traps once used on Parramatta River, Flock is a sensational, airborne sculptural work, sliced by lasers and situated centre stage in the redesigned former Church Street Mall... the Council recently received two awards from the Australian Institute of Landscape Architecture for the ingenuity of the work."

It would appear that back in the day, the convicts of old Parramatta used to trap eels using laser guns.

The baffled Sydney cops may yet be able to take action, however. While Council art-lovers would no doubt resist any attempt to turn off the refulgent exhibit on grounds of taste or even safety, it would appear to be illegal under the UN Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons.

The partially sightless Larusso issued a damning indictment on the state of modern art to the Herald.

"I don't know how people can get their kicks out of this," he said. ®

*Nearly two minutes.