Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Wormy Apple II

This next installment of this humble blog's ongoing, on-again off-again public art project takes us down to Lake Oswego again, this time to tiny Sundeleaf Plaza, a half-acre lakefront park near Stickmen Brewing and the historic Lake Theater. I was either meeting someone for lunch at the brewpub or for a movie, I forget which, and they were running late, and I noticed there was a.) a park where I didn't remember there being one before (it was built in 2011, which tells you how often I go wandering around in Lake Oswego), and b.) there was some public art in the park. So I wandered over for a quick look.

So this is Wormy Apple II (2009), by artist Ed Humpherys (1937-2018), which the city public art site describes thusly:

Purchased as part of the 1 1/2% for art for the lakefront park.

Ed had a religious upbringing and was exposed for many years to the biblical story in Genesis of Adam, Eve, the apple, and the snake. Consequently many of his sculptures have apples, snakes or both. The viewer plays the role of Adam and Eve.

In the beginning Ed Humphreys' intent was to create a series of linear sculptures that visually moved rhythmically around in actual space. Spherical forms were used at the ends of the linear components to visually act as an ending for the movement that was created (similar to using a period at the end of a written sentence). After the first sculpture was completed, Humphreys realized that the sculpture reminded him of apples with worms projecting from them.

Gallery Without Walls 2007-2009

"Gallery Without Walls" is an ongoing city program where the Lake Oswego arts council arranges to borrow a number of outdoor sculptures to exhibit around the city's downtown, usually on a two-year rotation. The art is typically for sale, and the city's walking tour brochure (here's the current 2023 edition) and other informational materials actually include price tags. So if you've ever dreamed of uprooting your favorite public art from a city park and taking it home, this is your big chance to do exactly that. (Athough that's probably not quite how it works in real life.) At the end of the rotation the city often buys a couple of the exhibited sculptures for its permanent collection, which is what happened with Wormy Apple II around 2009. It's kind of a cool program, though I'm not sure it's something many other cities could pull off. A place like Cornelius would probably be thrilled to have ever-changing art exhibits brightening up the place; it's just that the city doesn't have quite so many well-heeled art collectors as Lake Oswego does, and the city probably can't afford to insure the borrowed art, much less buy any of it.

Switching gears abruptly here, the search results I got back when researching this post included a couple of off-the-wall results I just had to pass along.

First up is Bulletin No. 68 from the Washington State Agricultural College's Experiment Station, dated 1905 and titled "The Wormy Apple", specifically page 11. That's an eleven, which looks enough like the Roman numeral II that Google figured there was no harm in sending me this result. So to combat the dreaded Codling worm, page eleven recommends a solution of 1 pound Paris green and 1-2 pounds lime to 150 gallons of water. Paris green being a beautiful and deadly green compound of copper and arsenic that was once used in artists' paint, fireworks, wallpaper, and even womens' clothing, in addition to being an effective general-purpose pesticide. Or to save money you could mix 1-4 pounds of white arsenic with one pound washing soda, and dissolve that in 100 gallons of water, which we're told works just as well for 1/3 the price. The page goes on to say "A grave danger here is over-spraying, i.e. causing the liquid to gather in drops instead of depositing a uniform sediment." (italics theirs), though the next sentence insists that "over-sprayed apples are not thoroughly poisoned", which is a bit less than reassuring.

Secondly, Google somehow concluded that "apple 2 computer" was a related search I might like to perform instead, or at least it's one they'd get more ad revenue from. Maybe it was just because of the "Apple" and the "II" in my actual search, or maybe the "Wormy" contributed too; it seems that four decades ago, way back in the distant year 1982, a Pennsylvania teenager wrote Elk Cloner, a boot sector virus targeting Apple II computers, and it may have also been the very first malware to actually circulate in the wild. Calling it malware is kind of a stretch, honestly; it replicated itself to new disks, and every now and then it performed one of several annoying teen pranks. The second link above actually goes into great detail on how it managed all of this in a few kilobytes of code, which is kind of interesting. I trust, o Gentle Reader(s), that you won't use this newfound forbidden knowledge for anything, y'know, untoward.