A Canadian writer teaches English and finds out what it's like to be a foreigner.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Great Olympic Park Mystery

Today was a groin-grabbingly beautiful Sunday (a reference both to the Simpsons, and the fact that last time Shane and I visited the park on Christmas Day we saw an old man fondle the junk of several anatomically correct statues) so we headed to Jamsil to bask in the strange splendor of Olympic Park.

By and by, we came across the following exhibit, slightly off the beaten path, in a little copse of trees:


There was something immediately intriguing about this disconnected set of rusty door, chair and (behind the door) cage. Especially since it wasn't marked with a plaque of title and artist, like the others.


A side view gives a little more insight into how out of place this set-up was, which is a feat in a Park full of such strange art.


This was the only clue as to the identity of the mystery artist and their work.


On closer inspection we see a Merry-Go-Round pony trapped in a rusty cage in the second "room." We decided there must be more to this overall piece, so we did a little more poking around. Our first breakthrough was this:


Shane brushed away the leaves at the base of the chair to reveal a set of bare footprints. This especially piqued our curiosity when a strange old man, carrying a soundless white dog emerged from behind us as insinuated himself in our investigation.

"Ahhh," he said, apparently to us.

We kept staring at the footprints.

"What have you found?" he asked.

"Footprints," Shane said.

"Aha. And how did you find them?" he persisted.

"I brushed the leaves away with my foot," Shane recited from his detective handbook.

The man smiled strangely, and started walking as if to leave, only to turn around again and say:

"You are interested in this sculpture?"

"Yes," Shane said matter-of-factly. "It's interesting."

"Aha. Interesting," he said quietly and wandered off down the path with his tiny white dog in his arms.

We both sort of looked at each other in acknowledgement of this Twin Peaks moment that had just happened.

"Do you think he was the artist?" Shane asked me.

"No," I said. "I think the artist would be more like a guy solemnly standing next to his work, and when people looked from it over to him he'd just say 'yes, this is my fault.'"

That said, the old man was definitely an omen wrapped in a red herring, like "the cowboy" in Mulholland Drive.

We took a closer look at the pony cage:


A strange silver light bulb. Curious, but much more so after the next discovery:


An immovable switch attached to the seat of the chair! And look closer and you'll see a wire also half-buried under the leaves.


Shane uses his crack dusting skills to uncover the path of the wire...


Aha!! So the electric wire from the immovable switch feeds into the silver light bulb in the rusty pony cage... and... uh... uh... are we any closer to answering the aching question WHY?


In the end, the mysterious sculpture is a riddle best left unsolved. Again, like a David Lynch movie; the clues are there, but the closure can never be given. The rusty two room facade, with its pony cage, silver light-bulb and white face with closed eyes in one half, and through the half-cracked open door, the chair with the naked footprints, the immovable switch, and the powerless wire as the only thing linking the two disparate, yet indivisible halves.

And what of the old man?

A curious bystander? An architect of intrigue? A human key to a lock with no latch!?

Interpretations are appreciated...

8 comments:

/rach said...

I love Olympic Park! Last year I would sleep there, because my home situation was a bit...not good. But, I've been trying to think of an interpretation all day for this one. I didn't get too far...just some real childhood trust issues, I think....anyway, thanks for reminding me to go back to Olympic Park again soon. Is the chair one close to the naked headless guy? I probably won't be able to find it, anyway.

/rach said...

oh, you tell a really intriguing story, btw

Sam said...

If you're walking towards the Jabberwocky from the naked statues,
and near the arse-crank behind the cardboard museum, it's a sharp left, between the the buffalo effluvia totem pole and the Sasquatch named Daphne.

Man, I think that's the coolest but most useless set of directions I've ever given in my life...

Shane Patenaude said...

Sunday was a great time had by all. I finally got to know what it's like to be Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys. I can see the book cover now:

The Hagwon Boys in
"Secret of Rusty Park Sculptures"

Pam said...

I think you go through the door and are made to sit on the "cosmic time out" chair, thinking about not abusing the pony again as you did at play time.All the while under the intuitive all seeing face of Mrs. Chestny!!!

Sam said...

If Mrs. Chestny had the bone white face of a ghost that stalked the backstage of a Noh Theatre, I probably would have spent a lot more time in Kindergarten shitting myself...

Sam said...

Shane: Would there be smugglers?

Shane Patenaude said...

Of course. Smugglers and pirate ghosts.