Saturday, May 13, 2006

SIEV X Tarago.

A few months ago Leah and I were driving somewhere (I mean, she was driving us somewhere), and we saw a thing that, well, was most definitely 'a thing'. To be remarked on, and such. It was a Tarago van. Not so exciting yet, agreed. Even if you do strongly associate Taragos, as I do, with the 'Catholic mini van brigade' due to the large collection of them, or their like, outside the school gates each afternoon back in the day, all helmed by diligently coiffed and three-quarter chino panted madams awaiting the collection and transportation of their broods... So yes. Still not that exciting. But this Tarago van had an astounding personalised number plate. Which was: SIEV X.

And we just stared at that. The whole confounding image it presented. And it dawned on us that it was a rather brilliant thing. I mean, it was a Statement Tarago. But it wasn’t absolutely clear what the statement was. There was such meaning to be made of it. The thing threw up so many questions. Or, at least two. The first question being, Why? For indeed, what would prompt a person to have SIEV X as their number plate? To identify their car with the sinking of a smuggler boat and the consequent drowning deaths of hundreds of desperate people, mostly women and children, seeking asylum in Australia. And the second question being, For What Purpose? What are you trying to say with this corker of an idea?

Some interpretations Leah and I came up with:

1. This van is a sinking ship.
[Quite a literal interpretation, yes. But we were only warming up. Still, we couldn’t tell you what saying, “This van is a sinking ship” actually meant, even though we said it a few times and thought it sounded catchy.]

2. Pitiless death is perilously close at all times, so don’t get complacent in your sedate family vans.

3. Remember SIEV X. Right now. While you’re driving.

4. Something about blending ‘relaxed and comfortable Australia’ with ‘a lot of death for other people’.

5. This is a family van. A people-mover. It’s how families move about. Sometimes, families need to move across water to escape persecution. But they are still just families moving about. Families like the one inside this van. Obviously, they shouldn’t die.

6. Look what you can do with personalised number plates. There is no limit. Rather, there is great opportunity. Think about that.

7. What does branding a tragedy onto an everyday appliance, such as a car, make people think?
[This one a more experimental, self-reflexive artistic statement from the Tarago.]


Anyway, my point is, this was a good thing to come across. So I support Taragos As Travelling Political Everyday Art Statements. TATPEAS. I would like for it to become a movement, please.

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