As mentioned before its almost impossible keeping a piece made with toys intact when kids kept tearing it out. A second piece suffered the same fate, for different reasons. The piece (titled Boom*) consisted of a series of twenty eight-foot painted planks each connected by four feet of twine, that were launched down Sibley Creek, under the bridge, and out into Lake Superior.

 

During the installation it became clear that passersby had no idea the piece was art. When asked to interpret it they said things like: “perhaps it’s a bumper system to protect kayakers from hitting the sides of the creek.”

The piece initially ran straight down the creek, but after a few days the twine broke, allowing several of the planks to re-arrange themselves randomly. This was much more interesting than any deliberate installation. Over time natural creek foam accumulated in the corners of the planks.

Intending to remove the installation at week’s end, I discovered that someone had gotten up before dawn and removed all the planks! There they were: neatly stacked and arranged beside the bridge: organized in a linear way that suggested the vandal was trying his or her hand at art- making.

Because the removal was done in secret we’ll never know what the remover(s) found objectionable about the piece. Nevertheless it was a revelation to discover the limit of their tolerance for interruptions in the “normal” landscape was about a week.

* Boom was inspired by my desire to pay tribute to the history of logging on the North Shore. As a young man my father had worked in logging camps on the Little Pic River, whose mouth at the Big Lake past Rossport is still littered with massive piles of cut timber from the logging days. As a child I loved watching the booms go by, and our beaches were scattered with the escapees of this once thriving industry.