Yesterday I was out in Fairfield and saw the Fairfield Industrial Dog Object (FIDO), a public artwork I’ve seen many times. I was a bit early to meet the person I was catching up with so I took some time to sit nearby and have a look around, see what I could find to read about the artwork. (The most accessible place I could find information was Wikipedia.)
Apparently when it was commissioned by the Darebin City Council in 1999 it faced a lot of opposition from folks who believed that local councils should focus on practical, everyday things. Its also been criticised by Sydney’s Revolutionary Council for the Removal of Bad Art in Public Places who apparently threatened to burn it down, but some may consider this a badge of honour.
For a long time it wasn’t operating (the tail and ears are supposed to move in response to visitors, and it is supposed to bark) and more recently it seems to have been making chicken noises, which is not what I expected. The original rationale for this artwork is that it should provide a friendly presence looking down Station Street and a watching over the community. Dogs are companions, assistants and they keep watch for us, and apparently folks in this area really like dogs. (The park bench nearby has engravings of people with dogs as well.)
If you live in the area, or if you’ve visited FIDO, what is your relationship to FIDO?
If you’re not familiar with FIDO, what do you think the presence of a giant dog would say to you about the precinct?