Petrosphere public art project launched

A new public art project ‘Petrosphere’, crafted by Senior Lecturer Dr Matthew Bird, has been unveiled at the Casey Fields soccer precinct in Cranbourne East.

Photo credit: Peter Bennetts

Petrosphere comprises an unlikely archaeological find beneath the soccer pitch. In crafting the monumental dome emerging from the ground, Bird drew reference from vintage soccer balls, carved stone artefacts, and ancient sporting symbols.

Measuring an impressive 7.7m in diameter by 1.5m in height, the dome is made from glass reinforced concrete, steel sub frame, integrated lighting, in-situ concrete and turf.

Petrosphere extends Bird’s current interest in creating ‘future fossils’; speculative objects which act as windows into possible future worlds. These objects draw on practices and symbols buried within rich layers of historic and contemporary culture.

“The projects are meant to function as yardsticks or time capsules, objects that are both long-lasting, yet of their time; something against which the passage of time can be measured. They are place making devices, artworks that offer curious points of interest for community and visitors to gather and reflect on what was and what could be,” says Bird.

Enabling the ‘rediscovery’ of this icon, Petrosphere highlights the paradoxical history of soccer: its origin as a handcrafted object, and future as a hyper-engineered surface.

The sculpture consists of tapering steps and ramps that allow visitors to traverse the half-buried form, while its precast concrete mass merges ancient sculpted form with engineered precision geometry. Integrated LED lighting strips remind visitors of the soccer fields’ white painted linework and add an otherworldly glow to the landscape.

Petrosphere responded creatively to the City of Casey’s design brief. It adds to a body of knowledge that redefines public art by offering an aesthetically curious monumental art-sculpture that is interactive. It critiques sporting culture, time and existence through a sculpture, inspired by spherical archaeologies oddities (petrospheres). And in doing so, brings a synthesised history to a newly developing suburb.

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