Friday, May 15, 2009

– 5.6.2009 –

Position Installation Day

I went to bed feeling good about the piece and anxious to set it up. I woke early, not 100% sure where I was renting a trailer. I didn't know exactly what time I needed to be on the site...'in the late afternoon' was what I heard (which is cool, because it is hard to plan times when you are installing multiple pieces in one day, there are always things that you cannot plan for that come up and take time).

I was a tad uneasy about the new hammer drill I bought and the 9" anchor bolts I needed to drill 1" x 9" holes in the concrete with six times. I didn't know where the electricity would come from to run the drill either. I wanted to make sure the holes were drilled before the guys got there with the boom truck so I would be totally ready for them to move it onto the base.

A couple of days prior, Willy down the street from my studio said he or one of the other guys would move the piece into the trailer for me with the forklift. "Just stop by," he said, "we can help you out."

I knew Commercial Pallet (across the street from my studio) opened at 6:30am. I knew I would need a pallet to lift the piece onto so that the forklift could lift it on to the trailer.

I could tell you a bunch of other stuff I knew, but basically the point is that I woke up with a lot of loose details about how the day would go. When you are dealing with 800 lbs of steel, you don't like loose details.

At about 8am and introduced myself to Tim he gentleman in the office at Commercial Pallet. He was pretty confused about why I was asking to rent a pallet for the day, but humored me and ended up letting use his old mulch trailer to move my sculpture (it used to carry the dirt bikes his kids ride, but they got a new enclosed trailer for that. He showed me his kids pictures – very cute). Anyway he said the "kid" (Rick) would be back soon and he would help me hook it up to my explorer and then he would come over with the forklift and pallet and help me. All of this because we are neighbors! I was floored at their generosity! They didn't even want me to drive across the city with it by myself and offered to come with to make sure everything went ok.

And then I was packed and ready to 10:00am! I had nothing left to do because of the kindness of neighbors! I felt like I was really part of the neighborhood. The next morning I brought the trailer back to the guys complete with chocolate chip cupcakes and a case of beer. Tim's dad was bashful and grateful about accepting them. It was cute. He told me he spent an hour that morning looking for my sculpture, but he had the cross streets wrong. If the only reason I made this sculpture was to learn more about the kindness of strangers. It was more than worth it.

The five-ish miles trek through the potholes-the-size-of-Lake-Michigan ridden side streets took about 30 minutes, but was relatively uneventful. I had one moment of terror fill my veins when I had to go under the 90/94 overpass on North Ave. I realized that I didn't know how tall it was and what if the sculpture hit the top and caused a huge pile up and really I was worrying for no reason. I was fine.

When I got to the site I waited there for about an hour for the guys to show up with the boom truck to help with the install.

The photographer Eric Craig arrived first. I met him earlier in the week when he came to my studio to photograph me in action. He does great work and he took stills and videos of the install. I am really excited to see these.

Then Barb Guttman and Alderman Vi Daley entered the scene. A little bit of small talk later, we were moving! It was nice to talk with them and hear about all the other installations. The weather was holding out and there were no major surprises so the day was going great. I got a picture with Alderman Daley and the Position -- hopefully I don't end up in the calender.

Back to the install, I barely even said hello to the guys and they were already lowering the crane onto my piece. Terry Karpowicz, Ted Sitting Crow Garner and Ron Gard were there to help. They were amazing as I anticipated and got right to work on moving the piece from the trailer to the base.

But I still needed to drill those big holes in the concrete. Nimble Terry fired up the generator and then I got ready to start drilling and then they noticed the new hammer drill that I bought...and then they noticed the anchor bolts I bought...and then they laughed and asked me, "what bridge are you planning to hold down with those bolts?!" So needless to say, I used much smaller bolts and Ted was kind enough to give me some of his to get the piece in place before the rain. I took the bolts and the drill back. Thank you John at Fastenal for returning them!

My pattern worked and we placed the anchor bolts and then I had to got to the store to buy some washers and when I returned the rains came. Tightening bolts in the pouring down rain presents itself with some slippery challenges, but about a half an hour later all bolts were tightened and I could step back and see a fully installed sculpture. I was soaked to the bone but so happy with the day it didn't matter.

It was really cool for me to interact with the people interacting with my artwork. I always try to think of the "audience" when I make a piece and there I was talking to them. Being there watching peoples patterns change as they walked by and stopped to look at the piece just made me smile down deep! Elders, kids, and adults were asking questions about it. Many of them were thanking me for sharing my artwork. Really, they were thanking me? I was so grateful that it has a home for the next year and that they were interested and stopped to ask questions about it.

No comments: