Arts and Culture

Chasing the Next ‘Big Thing’

Posted on: Mon 7 Jun 2021

“There’s a kind of cultural network or landscape of these Big Things and each one of them tells us something about Australia and something about the region it represents.”

Dr Amy Clarke

From Adelaide’s giant Scotsman through to the Big Banana and the Big Prawn, the Big Things trend first emerged nationally in the sixties. Since, Big Things have continued to grow, spanning the far reaches of regional Australia, the inner corners of suburban landscape and even weaving into our cultural fabric.

Historian and academic Dr Amy Clarke has been mapping the Big Things trend, characterised by super-sized kitsch or ‘low art’ structures typically built along roadsides across the 20th century. Her work has expanded from studying the life of these physical landmarks and their history, through to the adjoining macro trends, cultural shifts and changing social climates surrounding Big Things.

Dr Amy Clarke spoke with Festival City’s Emma Wotzke about how her work as a historian has informed her interest in Big Things, what makes a Big Thing and why, and the significance of Adelaide at the core of the trend.

Full interview below

Produced by Emma Wotzke

Image by Savage Vision, used with permission.

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