Trial Balloon

Trial Balloon: May 4, 2010 Archive

Amateur Archeology

Posted at 6:00 AM on May 4, 2010 by Dale Connelly (43 Comments)
Filed under: Guest Bloggers

Radio Heartland has tickets to a show by Carrie Rodriguez and Romantica at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis this Friday night, May 7th.
The doors open at 7 and the music begins at 8pm.

Enter the drawing.
Obey the rules.
Good Luck!

Today we'll start a feature that may turn out to be regular - it's up to you!

I'm calling it "Amateur Archeology", an attempt to reach conclusions based on a submitted photo of some sort of human construction or activity. In other words, if we were archeologists looking at this as an ancient artifact, what would we think of it?

Our first submission comes from Clyde, who sent the photo below along with a few explanatory notes. Click on the image to see a larger version.

This appeared on the Minnesota State University Mankato campus either two or three summers ago. I bike ride by this most mornings on my way to work, which means that over 200 times I have speculated about it.

MSUM Sculpture medium.jpg

I have never seen a story about it on local media, but then I ignore local media. The MSUM Website has a page on campus art and landmarks, which seems to include everything else on campus, but makes no mention of this. The campus does have a bit of sculpture strewn about it, none of which appeals to me. As it was being installed, I was on the fringe of a social group which included a MSUM administrator and two professors, none of whom knew anything about it. University officials might say it sits at an entrance to the campus, of which there are many, none of which really is an entrance. It is surrounded by the extensive athletic facilities, a fair distance from the academics and arts portion of campus. The Vikings would pass this every day when they are here.

Question #1: What is it? Is it a sculpture? Does it have a practical use? I have never seen it used in any way and the wear pattern on the grass would not indicate any use. Could something be a sculpture and have a practical use?

Question #2: Is it supposed to look like something or have a larger symbolical meaning?

Question #3: Can we draw any allegorical conclusions from the placement of various items? Here I have many thoughts, but the only specific thing I want to point out is the one block with no title on it.

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