Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Replacing Our Ruins With Legos

German artist Jan Vormann travels the world repairing crumbling monuments with Legos. I wonder if he has a son.

Since my son was born almost 5 years ago, my most reliable outlet for visual creativity has been in lego collaboration. It is a pure artistic pursuit. You don't build to sell, or for fame, or even to hang over your mantle for compliments at family gatherings. You build, destroy, build, and destroy. and the only motivating factor is the pleasure of the process of creation.

Even though I went to art school, the closest thing I can recall resembling the artist/apprentice relationship was when I was five making legos structures with my dad. I would like to imagine Vormann with a son at his heels as together they change the world into a more colorful place one tiny brick at a time.

Last weekend, I took Isaac to the Lego Store in Bellevue Square. They have what they call the Pick-A-Brick wall. From wall to wall, floor to ceiling round transparent drawers hold collections of segregated lego blocks. For 15 bucks you get to fill your own Big Gulp container with as many peices of your own choosing as you can jam into it. It was a fun challenge for the frugal part of me to try to get my money's worth, filling in ever empty crevice with single bricks or wheels. I let Isaac pick his favorites, so we now have enough checkered flag Legos to scale a racing dragon. When we got there they were just cleaning up after an AFOL (Adult Fans Of Legos) meeting. There is a great short documentary on AFOL here.

The Lego store is the only reason I can think of to recommend going to Bellevue, but I do recommend that you go. And, if you are feeling charitable after your visit to the Pick-A-Brick wall, you could repair buildings in your own neighborhood and email the photos to Dispatchwork. They are encouraging that everyone carry on Vormann's work worldwide.

Replace a pothole, repair a broken park bench, fill a cracked post office pillar. If this movement gains in popularity as the centuries wear our buildings to dust we may one day find ourselves in a completely user-designed, morphing, interchangeable world of primary colors.

1 comment:

  1. richard, your lego post reminded me of this article i just saw in the utne reader about a severely autistic 23 year old who "speaks" through patterns, and legos are part of his own brand of art therapy: http://www.utne.com/arts/alex-masket-slideshow.aspx.