Saturday, 7 January 2012

of whales and walls

This grey and snowy weekend is to be devoted to the re-visioning of a book I'd created a while back for a group show (Flotsam and Jetsam) at the Centre for Craft and Design in Sydney. The book is called Whale Mapping. It's a simple accordion fold-out binding featuring a collage of creepy other-worldly photos of a 20+ foot fin whale that washed up on a local beach a few years back.

Along with this book, the other lasting memory of this behemoth was a lingering odour of rancid whale blubber in our old Camry. The whale was literally melting from within, and each wave breaking around our legs would coat them with more molecules of liquid whale. We drove home with that souvenir on us and on our car seats. Even our dogs couldn't stand the smell of us.

There was a poignancy to this whale, and to all whales in fact, who wash up in such public places. They live their lives in such privacy and concealment and yet end up on display - poked, prodded and hacked at by gawkers such as us. This became the theme of the book, and generated the text:

I could swim so deeply

                                  as to be invisible. 
                                                                                  shrouded by dark oceans

made music in blue deeps 

                                                                                               and played, if you can imagine that

my life so private
                                            my death so public

I do have a flair for the dramatic. Anyway, the book itself was a bit disappointing. It just kind of sat there, and flopped around. Much like the whale. It deserved a binding a bit more stable and befitting the sobriety of the subject, I think.

the book in question,  about to flop

I'm trying to prepare this book in time for an upcoming exhibit at Cape Breton University Art Gallery called "Proletariart: The People's Art Exhibit" January 27 to February 24. Here's the link:

There, now that I've put my intentions right out there on the blogosphere, I will actually have to do this. 

So, this morning while-walking-dog-while-thinking-whale I came upon two things of interest. First, a whale, of the flying variety. A flying and spinning whale! Apparently it flies, spins AND squeaks in a good Gabarus gale.

whale weathervane on the house of our pals Tim and Jacqueline

Just down the road we joined a gathering....pretty much the entire village, at the seawall. The community had gathered to show support and appear for a photograph for the Cape Breton Post about our rapidly decomposing sea wall. Time and tides and some pretty forceful gales have caused the seawall to collapse in sections. This seawall is the only thing that protects our tiny sea level village from a vast and unpredictable ocean. When it goes, so shall we. Therefore, the battle has begun in earnest to get the attention of the powers that be. 

There may be whales in our driveways if we're not successful. Wish us luck!

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