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Countless students travel from considerably long distances in order to attend the highly renowned Curtin University. Options of travel include public transport, which can sometimes be unreliable or delayed due to unseen circumstances; or travelling by car. For obvious reasons, many students decide on the latter. 

Students are already faced with several expenses when attending university including significant student loans that could take years to pay off. In order to make parking on campus easier and fairer for all, Curtin introduced an electronic pay-as-you-go parking system known as CellOPark. The parking system is meant to only charge students for the time that they are parked on campus; however, this is not always the case. 

Review sites such as Appgrooves boasts hundreds of negative comments regarding the parking system. Many claim the app is charging people even when they are no longer parked at the university. Students say that the app has automatically signed them up for a subscription which charges a “premium service” fee. Students are also unable to cancel the service through the app, so in order to do so they must log into their account on a desktop computer.

Two Curtin University art students have decided to fire back at the service through their artwork pictured above, titled the CellOPark Troll. Written next to the piece is the statement “pay the toll to the troll”, a clever play on words in reaction to the con. 

Image Credit: Kate Geldart

A duo belonging to an anonymous Perth art group who focus their art on both social work and political pieces visited the art student’s class. They initiated a challenge for the students which involved collaborating with someone in their class to create a piece of artwork—and to try to get some form of exposure on their finished piece.

The creators of the CellOPark Troll came up with the phrase “creatively paralysed”, which they decided to call their group, and began to list off things that they were essentially frustrated about. They ended up focusing on the excessive prices of CellOPark and parking at the university. They both agreed that it was annoying how students are being charged even when they’re not parked. Over the semester break, students still receive a fee just for having the app.

The students found a piece of cardboard that had been sitting in one of the halls leading to the art rooms for a long time. They asked if they were able to use it as nobody had claimed it for over a year and a half. They came to the conclusion that it could be the nose of a troll.

“We found a space under a deck and we thought of a troll under a bridge,” Creatively Paralysed says.

“We just kind of pieced it together and it came up with the slogan “pay the toll to the troll.”

“We created this fun and satirical piece to healthily show our anger and frustration.”

They say that it was exhilarating putting the piece together. They had the adrenaline of hearing people walk over and worrying that they would hear the sound of the spray can or smell the paint. 

“It is aerosol so you can smell it from a mile away, so we were both like shhh, quick, spray, go” they say.

The students also showed their class the artwork and in return received a positive response. 

“People were relating to it,” they say. “We did see on a couple of people’s Instagram stories that they were posting about it.”  

“I don’t think it was allowed to happen, but we activated a non-activated space so now it’s actually something where people might spot it and be like ‘oh there’s something there’ instead of it just being a blank wall.” 

The artwork is located under the decks of one of the art buildings. It may be hard to see for some, however those who have a keen eye have been able to find it. 

“It’s kind of hidden, but for people who were actually looking, they’d find it” they say.

“It’s kind of cool because not everyone is actually going to see it, but it still comes into some people’s lives.”

*Real names have been removed from this article to protect the privacy of the sources.