Though it’s hidden behind a subscriber-only link, I’ve got a short article in the new issue of Metropolis. So if you’re standing in the check-out line at the supermarket and you need something to read…
“For the past four winters,” the article goes, “a kind of sci-fi skid row has sprung up on the temporarily frozen surface of Medicine Lake, in the western suburbs of Minneapolis.”
The structures have all been put there by the Art Shanty Projects, an “annual folk-architecture experiment” that now “features nearly two dozen cabins – each a unique variation on the traditional Minnesotan ice-fishing shed.”
Organized and run by Peter Haakon Thompson and David Pitman, this instant city on ice – part community festival, part architectural happening – includes a long list of participating artists and their often wildly different little buildings.
There are teahouses and karaoke rooms, a pinhole camera shanty and a place to knit scarves; there’s a functioning post office, a shack for misfit toys, and even a science shanty “themed around limnology – the study of lakes.”
But one of my favorites this year is actually the shanty in which you can “engage the community in a conversation about… cactus.”
Last winter, the shanties included a structure made of ice shells by the folks behind Materials & Applications; there was an artificial drumlin; and there was a “work of art” produced by local high school students – who also supplied this memorable description of the event itself: the Art Shanty Projects is a “five-week exhibition of architecture, performances, science, art, zombies, spear-fishing, videos, robots, pinhole cameras, sculpture, knitting, readings and karaoke.”
There was even a glass-blowing shanty and a peepshow on ice.
However, if you’re hoping to see the shanties in action, be aware that they’ll be dismantled on February 17th – three days from now. So hurry.
Otherwise, check out the Art Shanty Projects webpage for more info; and pick up a copy of Metropolis if you stumble upon one.