Monday, August 11, 2008

Starting On the Coyote Tracks!

In February I spent a week in Sewanee, Tennessee casting bronze with my friend/mentor Greg Pond. I've been sitting on the casts for awhile now - I have intended to install them in small potholes and cracks in city streets, but a combination of other life priorities has kept me from working on them. I've got to get cracking if I'm going to take advantage of any more of this summer weather...

Today I started cleaning them up, rather minimally, and picked up a few other supplies I've never actually worked with: asphalt crack filler and tar paper. What I'm trying to do is mimic the installation of the "Toynbee Tiles" - these are basically linoleum tile mosaics installed into asphalt roads by using crack filler, tar paper, and asphalt's unique knack for assimilating solid objects as cars drive over them. For a serious rundown of the Toynbee mystery, check out friends-of-friends' website Resurrect Dead (a film is in the works), which is a real treasure trove of research - they're in Philly, after all, where most of these tiles have been discovered. In their "external links" they have also graciously posted a very detailed how-to for making and installing the tiles, which originally appeared in Crimethinc's Recipes For Disaster handbook.

These photos show the bronze being cleaned up a bit - they're basically small bronze puddles with coyote tracks embedded in them. I've glued them to small pieces of tar paper which are sized a little larger, then coated the bottoms with crack filler and left to cure. At this point I'm thinking that when I go and install them, I'll try bringing along more of the crack filler and coating the nook I'm installing them into. This whole thing is an experiment, so no telling quite how it will work out.

Whatever the outcome, I'll post pictures, but I've got to wait first for the tires to wear down the top layer of tar paper. That could take days or weeks - the product label doesn't address tar paper's durability when you glue it to the middle of the road.

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