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November 20, 2013

Flying Jelly Attack! Abby Manock Sculpture Invades Burlington City Hall Park

DSC_1242No, those dangly yellowish-orange adornments in Burlington's City Hall Park are not the "Fry Guys," the entirely unlamented former mascots from days of McDonaldland past.

Artist Abby Manock's installation "The Airborne Jellyfish project" may seem somewhat whimsical, but it's a little more serious than you may think.

A recent book, Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean, studies the profound ways in which jellyfish have taken advantage of climatological and oceanic shifts to mount an unprecedented burst in their numbers — at the expense of other species, and of the oceans as a whole. The Airborne Jellyfish Project is designed in part to call attention to this looming, gelatinous threat, which has begun to attract serious worldwide attention.

But there's also an artsier angle to this installation, which has been curated by Burlington City Arts.

Manock, whom Seven Days profiled in September 2013, is using these curious coelenterates (go on, look it up) to explore issues of materiality and the subconscious as they pertain to the creation of art. She writes, in a statement about the project,

A conscious effort was made to get away from the ideological fixation of making notions of “Art,” and instead, to explore ways to tap into the origin of creativity from whence these notions sprung. This was achieved by training the subconscious to organically dictate the form of a Pure Thought. In other words, bits of Nothing were used as the medium/material for making Something. In this case, test results produced a jellyfish that travels by air. 

"Art is more than the sum of jellyfish parts," Manock concludes. It is difficult to disagree.

And, just because you know you love them (and because their song provides the headline for this post), here's a video of the great Shonen Knife performing their immortal classic "Flying Jelly Attack," live in LA from 2010. 


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