Living liberally in Seattle, Washington, USA
12.03.2007 - 21.03.2007 8 °C
On Monday, March 12th I flew in to Seattle from Toronto, and after a full day of work, was tired and didn't feel like doing anything elaborate for dinner. So I just wandered across the street from my hotel to the Subway sandwiches for some dinner. The man behind the counter had an eyebrow ring and a tattoo on his neck. Someone with a tattoo on their neck wouldn't be able to get a job in a Subway back in Toronto. But out here, on the left coast, it's all cool, man...
The Pacific coast of North America, encompassing the states of California, Oregon and Washington and the Canadian province of British Columbia are often sterotyped as liberal, laidback and alternative, at least compared to the eastern coasters in New York, Boston and Washington D.C. (the other Washington). This is a sterotype that has a certain amount of truth, whether it is drug decriminalization in Oregon, gay politicians in British Columbia or tough pollution restrictions in California.
Whether the liberal bias is true or not, Seattle is not helping it's case with one of it's art installations.
In the area of Fremont, just down the street from a massive art installation of a giant under bridge troll...
Is a statue of Vladimir Lenin, leader of the Bloshevik and head of the communist USSR from 1917 until 1924.
Why, you ask, is a statue of Lenin, communist leader, placed in a public square outside a fast food Taco restaurant? The statue was created by Emil Venkov in 1988, it stood for less than a year in Poprad, Slovakia before being toppled in 1989.
Seattle resident Lewis Carpenter bought the statue as part of a business venture to open an eastern European restaurant in Seattle. He died before his restaurant got going, and his family donated the statue to the Fremont business district to display until someone buys it. Asking price: $150,000.
That's the how - but I know what you are really wondering is the why. I'll leave that to the Freemont Chamber of Commerce to explain, as written on the plaque accompanying the statue:
Lenin in Freemont: Right or Wrong?
The presence of this sculpture has evoked a wide range of responses. If art is supposed to make us feel, not just feel good, then this sculpture is a successful work of art. The challenge is to understand that this piece means different things to different peple and to learn to listen to each other and respect different opinions. From an artist's standpoint, all points of view are valid and important.
Art Outlives Politics
The sculpture is placed here in the Artist's Republic of Freemont, as a symbol of an artistic spirit that outlasts regimes and ideologies, and as tangible prrof that art does outlive politics.
And with that, my entries on Seattle end. On Tuesday we had a client meeting that went well, and on Wednesday we completed our work and I caught a flight for the last time back to Toronto. I said goodbye to the 8 people who I have been working with for the last two months, and that's all. It's sad to say goodbye to people you have been working with over the past two months, sharing a office with. But that is part of the consulting gig - always moving on.
And so I move on. And new adventures await, some place new...