HI-LIGHTS is a large public art work commissioned by the city of Gold Coast in Australia as
its new gateway. It is centred on the radically adaptive reuse of a seemingly familiar
infrastructure. Rethinking the highway light poles as dots that form letters and words, and
altering their equally-spaced rhythm into a sudden, dense concentration, HI-LIGHTS puts
the Gold Coast’s name in lights through two unique works at the city’s busiest entry points.
Featuring nearly 100 highway light poles, closely spaced at different heights, the lights spell
out the city’s name in the northern installation along 100 meters of the Pacific Highway, and
the city initials at the southern site near the airport.

In September 2016 Jay Younger was awarded the role of Lead Curator for Creative Move for this invitation only curatorial public tender for the Gateways Public Art Commission (GPAC).
To assist in providing a greater understanding of this commission, Jay Younger produced a curatorial rationale that comprised two papers – one focused on the Gold Coast context and the other the popular controversies and failings of regionally specific landmark gateway and world event public art exemplars relevant to GPAC as a prelude to the GPAC Artists Briefing Document.

The topics addressed in the Gold Coast context paper included:
• Gold Coast Regional Identities; Introduction, Indigenous History, From Early Settlement to Booming Tourism and Development, Spaces, Places and Identities—The Locals, Surfies, Local Demographics, Conclusion;
• The Environment;
• Media, Myths and Misconceptions and the Gold Coast Imaginary: Introduction, Literary Representations, Hollywood on the Gold Coast, The Colourful and the Criminal, Conclusion
• Identities, Image, Tourism and Branding: Introduction, Evolution of Tourism Brands, Tourist Demographics, Slogans, Conclusion;
• In Preparation for the Games;
• The Future of the City.

The topics addressed in the second paper “The Life of Public Art” paper included:
• Great Expectations,
• Antony Gormley Angel of the North,
• Ron Robertson-Swann Vault,
• Mark Wallinger The White Horse of Ebbsfleet,
• Anish Kapoor Cloud Gate,
• Denton Corker and Marshall (DCM) Architects, Melbourne International Gateway,
• Dan Templeman with Hassell Architects Hyphen,
• Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond ArcelorMittal Orbit.

The following excerpt ‘GPAC Artwork Attributes’ composed by Jay Younger is quoted from the Artists’ Briefing Document:
This commission comprises two interrelated iconic gateway Artworks for the Gold Coast that will be visually bold, expressive, and memorable. It is intended that these iconic gateway artworks will engage both the public and the media in a robust conversation about the City of Gold Cost and the role of public art in cities, making them both remarkable and newsworthy. Both Artworks are being commissioned as a legacy of GC2018™ and therefore will be both of, and beyond their time.
The overall Artwork should be in keeping with the integrity of the Artist’s oeuvre as well as meet the requirements of large scale, highly visible public artworks. The two artworks need to relate, link and ‘book-end’ the city and should be recognisable as dual aspects of the same artwork.

The Artist’s concept for the Artworks needs to:

  • embrace aspects or visual signifiers of regional identity with an understanding that the City of Gold Coast identity is multiple, unfixed, and shifting
  • express a concept befitting the future of the city (given that the artwork is to last 50 years)
  • express gateway, threshold, or liminal sensibilities; provide an arrival and departure view/experience
  • provide a visual experience appropriate to driving viewers which heightens the perception of transition through the gateway to the City
  • act as a welcome landmark or beacon for residents, travellers and commuters to the Gold Coast; engage ‘audiences’ in feelings of homecoming or anticipation in response to an emotional sense of place
  • take form as a singular tall sculpture, a series of related sculptural elements, or as a flat panel/ screen-like elements or any combination of these in the two linked (North and South) gateway sites
  • be designed to playfully engage with audiences through digital/social media *
    (N.B. This artwork attribution is not essential).

The primary experience of these Artworks will be from vehicles travelling at 110km/hour on the M1 and 80km/hour on the Gold Coast Highway. Artists should be mindful that driver safety is a key consideration. These Artworks may act as a beacon to the Gold Coast however any lighting incorporated should not put driver’s safety at risk. Both Artwork Sites are 24-hour gateways and will be experienced both during the day and at night.

An open public Artist Briefing was held 2nd December 2016 where Jay Younger presented the curatorial rationale for GPAC. Later in December 2016 in her capacity as curator, Jay selected a long shortlist of 20 artist/teams from over 70 local, national and international EOIs and from these a shortlist of 5 artist/teams James Angus, LOT-EK, Callum Morton, Scott Redford and Judy Watson were selected to develop concept designs for the project. A selection panel comprising Wesley Aird, Tracey Cooper- Lavery, Tim Cross, Danny Della-Bosca, Chris Saines, and the Lead Curator Jay Younger selected the winning team LOT-EK, a NYC based team.

HI-LiGHTS was launched at HOTA GC on Friday 16th March, 2018. As predicted in the curatorial paper regarding landmark public art, HI-LiGHTS generated considerable media controversy including suggestions for its removal and or relocation.

The Gateways Public Art Commission

Client: City of Gold Coast funded by City of Gold Coast and Queensland State Government.
Public Artwork for the Commonwealth Games
Gold Coast, Australia – north site at Yatala on the M1 and south site GC in front of the Gold Coast airport at Bilinga.
Based on the letters GOLD COAST, 9 clusters of varying height partially yellow street lamp posts 100-meter long (north site) + based on the letters GC, 2 clusters 20m (south site)
Artist Team: LOT-EK, Ada Tolla + Giuseppe Lignano, Principals, Reza Zia, Project Architect
In collaboration with Office Feuerman (OF), Sydney
Management Consultant: UAP Urban Art Projects