There is an artist that is still going around McMaster campus leaving chalk drawings of whales and leaving mysterious notes. At first, it was mainly just a large white whale and a quote from Moby Dick. But as time goes on the drawings have become more extravagant. The courtyard behind the Student Center is often covered from head to toe with big whales, small whales, colourful whales, you name it. Just a few days ago there was a line of red, blue and yellow whales spanning the entire length of the school.
From what I know, there is still no word from the artist on what their intentions with these drawings are. A commenter in my last post mentioned seeing someone drawing one of these whales alone, so if that indeed was the artist it seems it's just one person. Which is incredibly impressive, because these drawing happen fast.
I've been taking photos when I can, and got some nice submissions from other commenters, so I figured I'd make a second post. I've organized this post into "chunks" so that it isn't just a long string of photos. Also there's a short video at the end of some of the impressive scale of this project.
If anyone has any info, or has taken cool pictures of these whales, feel free to share and I can add them to the collection :)
Just want to reiterate to be clear: I am not the artist. I'm just trying to document this stuff.
Lindsay's Images, from previous posts comments: Lindsay: 'That photo i have of the whale with the body traced at the top of it says: "It is 10:45am. I am lying very still on my little, white bed. Perhaps I am lying on the back of a whale. Perhaps I am the subject of my bed's dream. My bed is dreaming me as I hang on tightly to the back of a whale."
That phrase is (I think), an allusion to Nietzsche: "Nature
threw away the keys and woe to the fateful curiosity which might be able for a
moment to look out and down through a crevice in the chamber of consciousness,
and discover that man indifferent to his own ignorance, is resting on the
pitiless, the greedy, the insatiable, the murderous, and, as it were, hanging
in dreams on the back of a tiger."
That is from his essay "On Truth and Lying in an Extra Moral Sense." That essay is about a lot of things, but its main focus is around the problem of truth and illusion.'
These next three images are some of the more recent ones I've taken, and I think they're relevant because they seem to show a kind of change in tone. The last one reads "I thought that I was Captain Ahab on his quest... But then another thought crept into me... What if I'm not Captain Ahab at all? What if I'M THE WHITE WHALE?"
The other two depict handprints and footprints over the whales. Whatever the narrative is here, it seems to be progressing...
This one is interesting. For the past while there's been a sign in one of the windows of Chester New Hall.
What does it read?
I've no idea if this is the artists doing or someone just getting in on the fun. I'm inclined to believe the latter.... However, I did notice something interesting recently. When there was a long stream of whales drawn across campus, I followed the trail. Where else did I end up than the sidedoor to CNH?
Of course, there was nothing inside. I checked, walked a bit up and down the stairs, but no more whales....
This is quite a long one. I didn't quite get a chance to read it or take a better picture when I was passing by, but luckily Lindsay from the previous posts comments recorded it all.
There have been many other poems. You can see her comment here with the ones she recorded.
Lindsay: 'This was in a couple of places. Again, the whale is like the sky/space, but also like a structure that the narrator goes into(?):
She is a Dream, A Dream of the Sea
I crawled into the night
It was a giant mouth,
the teeth were like stars.
It ate me whole—
body and soul.
And I never woke up,
Nor saw the sun rise
Because there is no sun,
to measure one’s distance against,
to peer over, or into.
The only space is sound, in the belly of a whale.
And all I hear is the slap of the sea
against this brutal midnight shore
And the arteries that speak to me
with a hot, hydraulic roar.
Though I love this beast
(it keeps me warm, its strange organs lull me to sleep,
and no one can hurt me in its flesh-lined keep).
I stroke his throbbing gullet
and pull seaweed from my hair.
Humid ringlets coil about swallowed
oars and masts from ships;
I am bound to the rotted wood of vessels.
I feel alone as I haunt this home.
Parasitical, I scavenge small fry
And rub stomach-acid tears from my eye.
Salt water tears, I cry the sea,
Swamping the innards of this Leviathan
And the stars, they gnash
And the ships, they crash
As the ocean enters and exits into itself
That monster vomits a secret sorrow.
We drown each other.'*
This sorry pod got washed off prematurely :(
The Trail Complete
I took a few (shaky) videos of the long trail that spanned across the campus to try and share the scale of this White Whale project. Here it is put together!