The world of art is an amusing one. It is full of contradictions and surprising turns. While the audience is no longer shocked or astonished by a sight of naked body or extreme violence, it turns out that the modern viewer is very disturbed by a huge yellow rubber duck. Sounds wierd, but that’s the reaction to the worldwide tour of Florentijn Hofman’s trademark work.
This Dutch artists focuses on the public art and huge installations embodying animal characters. Giant rabbits, pigeons, dogs, teddy bears, and,of course, the Duck appeared in many locations around the world. Immense installations evoke a stir of emotions, ranging from admiration and excitement to frustration and destroying intents. During Duck’s stay in Belgium, it came under knife-attack and was stubbed 42 times. It has been criticized for demolishing the environment around the work, which goes against the principles of public art, as it suppose to underline and define the surroundings, existing in a harmony with the public space. On the other side, the Rubber Duck is a universal symbol, that is familiar to almost anybody in any culture of the world. Hofman himself states that the Duck is a symbol for peace and tolerance with no boundaries. While the audience seems to embrace this concept, many people felt that the whimsical installation turned into a commercial entertainment event, including the author of the art work.
It is hard to say whether the issue is relevant and who’s fault it is; the idea of a benign character uniting the world with a humorous note and a great deal of flamboyance (literally) is worthy of respect. Negative comments have some validity, but also revel that people are very dependent on the “normality” of their surroundings and become stressed when something unusual intervenes their comfort zone.
While Rubber Duck is a universally recognizable phenomenon, Hofman produce works that are much more local. For instance, his project ‘Moon Rabbit” is situated in Dayuan Town Naval Base in Taiwan and based on the Asian folkloric story about the bunny that lives on the moon. Somewhat dreamy and adorable installation contrasts the military background, starring at the moon and attracting a lot of visitors. Such methods of contradicting the environment are simple, yet effective tool in the identification of urban and public space. Incorporating more local topics into his art, Hofman is able to create something site-specific; at the same time the cartoonish animals are relatable to many, thus making Hofman’s art works speak with a globally recognizable language. Isn’t it a modernist’s dream?
What do any of us really know about Siberia, other than its cold? Not much— and we’re just about to reinforce the idea. Lake Baikal, located in Siberia, is the deepest and cleanest lake on Earth. Clocking in at an astounding 373 miles deep (!!!), the lake can create 6.5 feet of ice on its surface every winter. This means that people, cars and anything weighing less than 16.5 tons can glide across this majestic lake’s surface without even making a crack. Some intrepid visitors even camp on the surface each winter!Indeed, the natural wonder has become quite the attraction— not only because of the novelty of it but also because deep underneath the ice, cracks and bubbles form to create some truly remarkable designs on the surface. Once April hits, all action has to halt, as the ice begins to melt, sometimes making sharp, cracking noises like gunshots through the vast expanse of land. [h/t boredpanda.com]
Sure, when you’re expanding a huge quarry, you’re going to expect some surprises hidden in the mass of rocks. Maybe some bird bones, a lost shoe or some relic of past construction work. What you’re probably not expecting to find, however, is over 5,000 dinosaur footprint embedded in the stone.But that’s just what workers found in a cement plant in Sucre, Bolivia. Those on site uncovered a 4,000 foot long and 262 foot high wall of limestone with with the unreal footprints set inside; in fact, it’s now known as the site of the largest concentration of dinosaur tracks in the entire world.Cal Orcko, as the quarry site is called, used to be the shore of a lake, so many centuries ago during the Cretaceous period. It’s this coveted water source that brought both herbaceous and carnivorous dinosaurs to the area for nourishment. During the warmer months, the earth surrounding the lake would get damp and pliable; when the animals stepped to the shoreline to drink from the lake, they’d sink into the ground and leave their footprints behind which became solid during long periods of drought. During yet another period of wet weather, the dried footprints got sealed underneath the latest, wet layer. A huge tectonic movement shifted the limestone slab to the upright position it is in today.Over 460 individual trails were made during this process, the first of which were discovered by miners in 1985. It wasn’t until 1994, however, that the site’s archeological importance was solidified (pun intended) when Swiss paleontologist Christian Meyer and his team certified the bed as legitimate. Meyer is quoted as saying that the site documents “the high diversity of dinosaurs better than any other site in the world,” and stresses the importance the highly preserved footprints have on paleontology and the understanding of the history of the earth in general. It comes as no surprise that Meyer’s subsequent study of the prints reveals much more than just the shape of the dino’s feet. In some places, you can see tiny baby feet between two lines of bigger footprints, showing that parents would protect their offspring by having them walk underneath them, shielding the young with their size.Of course, the most popular set of footprints belongs to a baby Tyrannosaurs Rex, whom researchers have dubbed “Johnny Walker” and whose 1,128 long set of footprints delight all visitors to the sit. To keep the original site and its incredible findings safe while simultaneously showing it off, a Cretaceous Park opened in 2006 which provides tourists the chance to view exact replicas of the dinosaurs who also visited the site, along with a museum and a viewing platform to see the rock face. [sources: Amusing Planet]