Today was a day for a short trip, a minor one. Just a jump up to Kennesaw to see the Crumbly Spaceship Earth. Here’s the far away picture I got:
Just a globe with a little man walking on top. Hardly worth even a mini-trip, you’d think, but in fact this sculpture has quite a tragic and extraordinary story to it.
The sculpture, 175 short tons of Brazilian blue quartzite, was unveiled in October 2006. The little man atop the world is David Brower, founder of the Sierra Club, and the sculpture was titled “Spaceship Earth.” Inside, a time capsule was sealed, not to be opened until 3006 AD. Instead it was recovered three months later.
As the story goes, on the night of December 29, 2006, campus police felt the floor of their office shake. They ran outside, and saw that Spaceship Earth had literally disintegrated into a pile of twisted metal and broken stone. The time capsule sat exposed in the rubble, uncovered a thousand years too soon. An engraved phrase, “our fragile craft,” was still visible amid the debris.
That’s right, the earth collapsed, right onto the bronze figure of the prominent environmentalist. The photos of the ruins are difficult to behold.
The artist, understandably, was devastated and blamed the apocalypse on vandals, though officials think it was more likely caused by resin or glue failure. The artist painstakingly selected the finest Brazilian blue quartzite, saying “…immediately I understood this was the right stone. It is more permanent than anything else. No pollution can hurt it. No graffiti will harm it. It was the right stone to be here for 1,000 years.”
The cruelly obvious metaphor was recognized by all, as an MSNBC article stated “A million-dollar stone sculpture, intended to remind future generations of the Earth’s fragility, made its point a bit early — just three months after its unveiling, it collapsed.”
Well, we’d read about this Spaceship Earth and how it was now glued back together again, maybe being some metaphor about the earth’s eventual resiliency after mass extinction events? So we set out to visit it today.
Jon however, wasn’t entirely confident about the sculpture’s stability and was uneasy posing beneath it.
If you look up close, you can see various signs of the damage and spots where the glue repairs are still showing: