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Tech journalist since the dark ages. Windows Secrets, LangaList newsletter, Windows Magazine (NetGuide, Home PC), Byte, Popular Computing, yadda yadda yadda. Google me, if it matters.

This feed is mostly personal interest; it's NOT my professional writing. There's tech here, yes, but also lots of general science and some politics and weird humor thrown in.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Exploring Boston: Boston Harbor Arts

Fall's finally in the air here in Boston, and I'm also catching up on long-delayed tasks, including some post of recent (and maybe not so recent) Boston explorations.

A while back, I visited the Bostons Harbor Arts Sculptures, which is definitely the oddest sculpture park/exhibition I have ever seen, anywhere.

It's located in an active commercial shipyard in East Boston, across the inner harbor from the downtown waterfront.

Here's the location, a subway ride under the harbor to Maverick station in an ethnically-diverse neighborhood:
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I'm not kidding about this being a busy, working, commercial shipyard. The sounds of hammering, welding, sanding, and such provide an acoustic accompaniment to the art.

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This single modest sign is the only formal identification of the gallery that's embedded in the shipyard.

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The artworks are scattered randomly throughout the shipyard. Some have small placards to identify them; some don't.

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Some of the art is more or less pure. Some is rather didactic.

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Didactic, yes, but pleasant to see.

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This massive piece, "Codfish," dominates the entry area.

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The round object is "A Toy for Sisyphus," the wall-mounted disc is "Captured Flight."

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Many, but not all, of the artworks have a water or nautical theme, like this wave-inspired piece.

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This massive stone assemblage sits at the foot of the shipyard's main wharf.

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This is "The Other Shore."
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I can't imagine how much work went into shaping this granite.

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The next few shots illustrate the artwork that my left-brain enjoyed the most. It's a kinetic sculpture, powered by "Tide and Temperature."

The center of the artwork is this gravel-filled turntable, on which a metal stylus slowly --- imperceptibly--- writes a long spiral line. It's 100% mechanical, powered entirely by tide and temperature. I'll explain in a moment.

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A closeup of the stylus.

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There's no posted explanation: You have to figure out what's going on for yourself. But it's not hard: See the thing that looks like a white fishing pole extending from the base of the turntable? It's connected to a float that rides on the surface of the water.

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As the tide lifts and lowers the float, that linear up-and-down action is converted into rotary motion to  slowly spin the turntable through this gear mechanism.
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The stylus is on the end of a metal pipe many hundreds of feet --- maybe 100 meters? --- long. Much of the pipe is painted black for maximum warming from the sun. As the pipe heats and cools, it expands and contracts, slowly moving the stylus back and forth.
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Once set up, the artwork is entirely powered by nothing more than the tide and temperature. It's wonderfully clever; simultaneously complex and simple.

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The long wharf has nice views of the shipyard, its marina, and Logan airport in the distance.
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Nice views looking back to Boston downtown, too.

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Having walked to the end of the wharf, I next went the length of the shipyard, paralleling the water.

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I could find no identifying placard for this next piece:

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These panels form one of the larger installations:

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Not all the pieces are large; not all are sculptural.

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This 3D installation commemorates the "Flying Cloud," a famous clipper ship built in East Boston in 1851; it set the speed record for a New York to San Francisco voyage; the record stood for over 100 years.

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Approaching the end of the shipyard, and the piece my right brain enjoyed the most: "Iscariot."
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Other, smaller artworks were nearby:

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This next was unidentified:
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The giant cleaver also was unidentified, but it appropriately was next to the entrance to a delightful Australian restaurant.
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Lunch was delicious! http://kocateringandpies.com/EastBoston/

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My view as I ate my Aussie meat pie, washed down with a Harpoon IPA, brewed just across the harbor.
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These "No, duh," warning signs of blindingly obvious hazards are scattered throughout the shipyard. Turns out they're an art installation, too.
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In all, it's a great place to visit --- and it's free! Definitely worth a stop, the next time you're Exploring Boston.

Photobucket Album:
http://photobucket.com/HarborArts