As promised yesterday, this is the second part of Sunrise 118’s post.
Yesterday morning, after checking out the sunrise, I ventured into the park to see what was new. As I approached the lawn I noticed something across the way, about 80 yards on the other side of the park. Someone had gathered up a bunch of political signs and planted them together in a group. After all the local TV ads stop and the results are tallied, what ends up happening to all the political signs? Well, some of them ended up in Ault Park!
Upon closer inspection, however, it became apparent that these signs were not randomly placed about the lawn. Rather, they were all neatly organized in parallel rows, facing forward towards the set of benches. On top of one of the benches, low and behold, was a plastic Christmas snowman. As it turned out, I was the first to come across a renegade piece of art placed in the lawn of the park by some artist or group of artists. Here’s the scenario as I saw it:
- The political signs were all organized in a tight group and each was facing the snowman.
- Each of the political signs, without exception, were marked with a
capital “V”in black shoe polish. Some of the signs were “double long” and were marked with a double V. Upon further inspection, it appears that each of the “V”s are almost identical, implying they are drawn with a stencil. Maybe spray paint, then, not shoe polish. UPDATE it was pointed out by Togie and RossTheColonol that these are not, in fact, the letter V. They’re actually stencils of a SHEEP. The sheep is looking directly at you. It’s kind of hard to tell at first, but it becomes obvious. That makes it even more powerful!
- The snowman sat atop a bench. Care was taken so that the gravel that filled the snowman did not spill out onto the bench (a political sign kept the gravel from falling out of the bottom). There were no other signs of vandalism or damage. A respectful installation!
- Across the side of the snowman, in big bold letters, was written “THE MAN”. The phrase was also written along the back of the snowman.
- The snowman’s face was modified. His eyes were colored white and then small beady pupils were drawn in the center. His mouth had teeth drawn with white-out and cheek-bone lines drawn with marker. There were also wrinkles drawn around his eyes.
- The snowman had a nice little tie around his neck that I almost didn’t catch at first.
- I love that each of the political signs come from all areas of the political spectrum. The way they are clustered together into an “audience” to the snowman’s political rally is interesting because even though each sign represents a different “choice”, each sign is equal in the audience to the Snowman.
- Now that I know that the stencils are “sheep”, not a “V” like an artist signature, the meaning is much more straight forward.
- I like that the snowman is a fantasy character. It adds a bit of surrealism to the entire operation. It also makes the idea of “The Man”, an otherwise intangible and scary character, into a tangible albeit fictional figure.
- The details on the snowman really seal the deal. His face looks seedy with a plastic smile (hah!), beady eyes, and the teeth. The tie is also a nice touch. That’s the one detail that makes me think this had some real planning behind it.
- I like that the political signs are real. They’re taken from the urban landscape and reused to make a statement.
- The obvious message that I take away from this is that choice is an illusion and the Snowman (“The Man”), lying behind the scenes, is benevolent in his power! 🙂 As Zach de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine said, “There is no other pill to take so swallow the one that makes you ill!”.