“Turn lots of heads and raise a few eyebrows” – Nicholas Parkhill.
It’s the erection that Sydney has the world talking about.
On the 7th November 2014, the Hyde Park Obelisk had an 18 metre pink condom erected as part of a campaign “I’m ON” to promote HIV awareness. ACON is a health promotion organization that focuses on HIV and Aids, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health.
Mounted over night by crews of hard-hat tooting workers, it stood for a week an impressive performance.
Passers-by stopped to take pictures and discuss the new arrival.
People turned to social media.
Annie Armenian@anniea89 – “@BuzzFeedOz: Uh guys. Guys. What. RT @emilywilson: Sydney! pic.twitter.com/4mQvvkURWR” I, for one, welcome our new condom overlords
Senthorun Raj – So, I’m off to see the #GiantCondom in Sydney. Because, if there’s one thing as titillating as an inflatable butt plug, it’s a pink condom!
2DayFM Breakfast – Now THIS got our attention – http:/t.co/iaHRkJmcBL Always use protection… even if you’re a monument pic.twitter.com/6zRlpQ7UG6
Kemal Atlay – I wonder what flavor the Hyde Park #giantcondom is…
One passer- by “Oh my god – that is crazy. It’s the first time I’ve ever noticed it, at least it adds a bit of colour.”
When in fact the condom serves to highlight the phallic nature of all Obelisks at large, just as Edouard Manet’s Olympia shined a glaring light on the pornographic nature of the nude.
Jackson Long – #GiantCondom this is fantastic! Well done http://endinghiv.org.au . And Sydney Water for allowing this to happen.
But of course not all the public were pleased by the stimulating installation.
Wendy Francis, Australian Christian Lobby director and outdoor advertising lobbyist – “Parents do not want to be forced into a situation where they have to explain something that’s not relevant. It’s an Obelisk and we’re turning it into a penis.”
However ACON was not the first organization, nor was the Hyde Park Obelisk the first Obelisk to be bedecked with a giant rubber glove.
1993 HIV had infected 14 million people and AZT resistant strains of HIV began to emerge. ‘Time to Act’ was the theme of the 1993 World AIDS Day. ACT UP Paris took it literally with financial support from The United Colors of Benetton executed “operation giant condom”, commando style, in the middle of Paris’ most public square.
Within a matter of minutes one of the three actual Cleopatras’ needles in the centre of the Place de la Concorde was transformed from a monument into a symbol of awareness and prevention. It was only in place for mere moments before authorities ordered it to be removed, that didn’t prevent it from making ripples around the world.
“Wanted to show that AIDS was a problem that penetrated society” – Mariana Galanti.