Yesterday, I posted my poem "Beetle on a String." Today, I discovered a very different kind of beetle on a string. An exploded, deconstructed, disassembled, suspended one: a full-size, real-life Beetle — a VW, that is — on strings. A 2002 installation at the University of Pennsylvania's Institute of Contemporary Art, "Cosmic Thing" by Damián Ortega, a Mexican artist. Just tremendous. Check it out:
This beetle on strings, it turns out, was part of a "Beetle Trilogy." You can read about it in Ortega's book Damián Ortega: The Beetle and Other Works, coauthored with Alma Ruiz, Eungie Joo, and Hari Kunzru. According to Amazon's product description, this book
documents 10 years of work focused on conceptual practice, social organization, and humor, including the installations and performances that make up his acclaimed Beetle Trilogy, several works never before exhibited and a great deal of unpublished material.The description goes on to outline The Beetle Trilogy itself:
The first episode of the trilogy, The Cosmic Thing, a disassembled Volkswagen suspended in the air, was featured in Gabriel Orozco's Il Quotidiano Alterato at the 2003 Venice Biennale, and was one of the most widely reproduced images of that year's exhibition. Moby Dick, a heroic action [piece] involving the artist's Beetle, a live band, ropes and pulleys, followed, and then Beetle '83 Escarabajo, a ritual return to the vehicle's place of birth, closed the cycle.Damián Ortega is clearly an artist to watch, a man after my own heart, what with his interests in beetles and strings and all. Since I've owned a handful of VWs myself, two Beetles and two Karmann Ghias, I think maybe I feel an "exploded Beetle" poem coming on!