Hear My Train a' Comin' (Bricked-in Train) 2012
See: http://www.wanganuichronicle.co.nz/local/news/bunkley-artwork-wins-riverbank-spot/3950893/ Hear My Train a' Comin' (Bricked-in Train) 2012 is a monument to NZ social democracy. It is simultaneously a celebration for the potential of future rail transport.
The sculpture commission is a four-and-a-half-metre-high locomotive constructed from concrete street pavers (similar to bricks) which emerges from the ground at 80 degrees from a 'tunnel'. The angle and construction reflect Bunkley's early interest in the architectural constructivism of Russian artists Tatlin and El Lissitzky. Bunkley, who has been using 3D software to fabricate sculpture since the early 1990s, 'mapped' pavers as a grid onto a computer model of a train (based on KiwiRail's latest locomotives). The wheel undercarriage was fabricated in Wanganui, using a computer-guided water-cutting machine.
Wanganui was a major centre of the railroad in New Zealand until the neoliberal “reforms” of the 80’s. The railroads were privatized (costing over 400 jobs in Wanganui alone) in order to help “save the economy”. The yards were sold off to private investors. The investors soon went bankrupt and the NZ government bought back the national rail network in 2004. Not only did the privatizations not “save” the economy, but the economy stalled for over a decade until many of the “reforms” were reversed. The Wanganui yards remain largely derelict.
Trains still cross through Wanganui with increasing regulatory due to the growing international need for dairy products. Train travel is among the most energy efficient means of transportation. (Trains produce lower emissions than all other transportation in a suburban environment.) With decreasing energy resources and increasing regulation to offset climate change, rail transport is certain to becoming a progressively more significant mode of transport.