A Big Ol' Twig
Imagine, if you will, a metal twig sticking out of the ground. Now, still using your imagination, either shrink yourself down to the size of an ant or enlarge the twig to the size of a ten-storey telephone pole.
What was your first thought upon gazing at this large imaginary twig? If you thought "Oh MAN! This large metal twig is super amazingly incredibly groovy and I would like nothing better than to use Canadian tax monies to make this gigantic twig into a reality" then you would fit in at the National Art Gallery of Canada. The National Art Gallery of Canada not only imagined this big ol' twig would be a good value for Canadian tax dollars, but also felt that it would bear an uncanny resemblance to the spirit of the Canadian nation.
The spirit of our nation is a branchless twig that, come to think of it, looks more like a giant hair? The spirit of our nation is built and conceptualized by an American?
"It's a limbless tree and they do exist in nature," assures Marc Mayer, the director of the National Art Gallery of Canada.
Oh phew, I was worried that this tree was based on a large wiry hair sticking out of a mole. Oh wait, those exist in nature too, don't they?
"It's a skinny tree that's going to survive. It's surrounded by other trees and it's got that little spot of sunlight, but not enough to actually have branches," Mayer argues.
Trees need leaves in order to produce the energy that allows them to grow. That little spot of sunlight is not going to do a limbless tree any good if it doesn't even have one leaf to absorb the sun's energy with. Basically, Mayer is saying that this tree is absorbing the sun through its bark and shooting thirty metres upwards. Yet, despite this remarkable vertical growth, this tree does not have enough energy to grow branches or leaves.
Art students should be forced to take basic science classes. Really, they should.
Oh, and another thing, if the tree is built on Nepean Point as proposed, it will not be surrounded by any trees whatsoever. So much for struggling for survival amidst the other trees.
It will make an excellent lightning rod, and a great distraction from the unsightly statue of Samuel de Champlain. Champlain actually looks like a seventeenth century French explorer, so no one is ever confused over what he's supposed to be. This twig will solve this problem, leaving tourists befuddled and forcing them to ask the question which is integral to all modern art: "hey, what is this supposed to be?"
". . . all the architecture around it will have the same aspirational thrust. There are lots of buildings with pointy roofs: the cathedral, our own museum, Parliament. The American Embassy even has a hint of that," says Mr. Mayer.
Wait, wait, wait. So, because there are so many pointy architectural things in one area - corners, angles, and such - this enormous twig is a good idea? I have a feeling that if these buildings all had domes and rounded edges, Mr. Mayer would be saying something like: "all of the architecture around it juxtaposes against it nicely. There are a lot of buildings with rounded roofs, so this pointy tree will really stand out amazingly."
Why don't they just stick a big metal telephone pole on Nepean Point and be done with it?
"These trees are handmade," offers Mayer.
Here I thought that Mr. Roxy Paine, the artist, was rolling them out of his metal tree factory where he employs thirty-seven Japanese robots. If this tree is handmade, it's more like an artistic version of a big metal telephone pole. Awesome.