Posts Tagged ‘vandalism’

Oh woe is me!  It was starting out to be such a beautiful day.  There was a spicyness to the air that was intoxicating and the willows were alive with birds.  I saw several different warblers and managed a good photo or two!  As I approached what has been my outdoor studio spot for months,  I could tell something was different this time.  A feeling of foreboding began to fill me and my heart sank as I looked around my site.

They were all down and destroyed!  Figures that had been my friends since early summer were lying around my studio smashed and savaged to bits!  The figure I made with Ariana that wore the lacrosse helmet we found together was staring up at me like some ancient Egyptian mummy.  The eye sockets were hollow and I could not find either the helmet or the eyes.  Even the small bird piece that had alighted on this figure’s shoulder was just random bits of broken polystyrene.

Both the Styro-Odysseus figure and the dancing figure that greeted him back from the war were goners now.  It seemed that a particular kind of viciousness was reserved for the heads as they appeared to take the brunt of the attacks.  The violence was not restricted to the “art” and I saw that even the old milk crates I stored found objects in were also now cracked and battered.  There were two other works out here and how did they fare?  What about that Figure with the Long Arm?  Look for yourself.

It’s not an encouraging sight.  All these sculptures had been up here for weeks and many people have had the opportunity to see them and interact with them in positive ways.  Among the other options included taking them home, moving them to another location at the Falls, adding to them in some other creative way, leaving them be until the river eventually found them, etc…  Unhappily, the option exercised was just to smash them with sticks.  One other figure was also out here and unfortunately, she lasted only long enough for one good post until she too was discovered by the vandals.

This is all that remains of Minnie now…fragments of broken Styrofoam.  Minnie was an interesting character and people seemed to relate to her.  More than likely all this carnage is the handiwork of adolescent boys.  I have seen this before…many times over the years.  What is it in the human spirit that finds some strange satisfaction at tearing down what has been built by others?  I don’t understand the pleasure derived from this kind of destruction?  I will admit to feeling down after I encountered all this trauma and I haven’t been back to this site since then.  I did gather up what I could and I intend to make new works if I can lift my spirits up enough to do it.  For now, all that remains are photographs of these sculptures when they existed intact and in the contexts that helped to define them.  Here are a few previously unpublished images.

I know I shouldn’t be too upset since all this stuff is just river-born trash anyway.  I think I keep saying this to myself in part because it’s true and to insulate my feelings for when these black days occur.  These materials had already been abandoned. I can’t take it all home with me and I should just enjoy the ephemeral nature of it all.  Still…

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