The subjective of the art project „The Cast Whale“ is to present a life-size cast of a large whale, a whale which has been cast to shore and which died in a natural way. Just as the whale has stranded, so should it later be presented in the cast form.
The encounter with a stranded whale brings to one's imagination a parallel world, a world which has been imprinted upon one's (un)consciousness since early childhood. Whales appear in children's stories, in mythology, in the great religious traditions, in fairy tales, fables, poetry and literature. In all these sources they invariably represent a tremendous power, a wonder of nature of high intelligence - but one which is also capable of turning into a monster. The whale becomes a projection screen for our imagination, a container of transformation and of rebirth.
The scarcer an encounter with a whale becomes, the more it gains in symbolic power. The direct presence of a whale triggers feelings of being overwhelmed and of the sublime. Even in the past, it was the privilege of very few people to actually see a whale. Although our technical ability to observe whales has advanced immensely compared to past centuries, it has become more difficult to do so due to their increasing rareness. The whale represents not only a paradise lost of our childhood, it also embodies the ideal state of the pre-industrial world in which the systematic destruction of nature by man was not yet imaginable. The encounter with a whale might therefore arouse feelings of melancholy and mourning, for we know – this is a world which soon could vanish as a result of the activities of mankind.
The strong emotional reaction we have towards whales also emerges due to our knowledge that whales, like us, are mammals raised on mother's milk, and are organized in social structures. Amazingly, the whales were originally terrestrial animals, which over time, went in the opposite direction to the usual evolution - and slowly developed to become aquatic animals. Their often enigmatic stranding can perhaps therefore be understood as an act of homecoming.
In the course of considerations for the project, it became clear that three conditions are necessary in order for it to gain the intended effect:
⁃ the whale must be of considerable size. Ideal would be between 13 to 14 meters length.
⁃ the mold should be made directly on the shore at the location of the stranding
⁃ the whale should be later presented as a sculpture in the exhibition space in the same position it was found on the shore
Only under these conditions can the sculpture convey the thoughts, associations and content as described above.
Preliminary research concerning the different possible locations for the realization of the project had lead to the conclusion that the area most suitable for our purpose, on account of the frequency of whale stranding and the level of infrastructure and cooperation needed on the part of the local population and authorities, would be the Cape Town area in South Africa.
Preparations for the realization of the project have been undertaken: A technical team, experienced in similar large projects, has been set up and is ready for action on call. The casting material and all additional equipment, including vehicles and possibly a crane, will be available on short notice once the financing for the project is complete. According to our research, from the minute a stranded whale has been detected there is a time span of 3 to 4 days in which the cast can be made, depending on weather conditions. Due to the process of decay and the gas which accumulates in the corpse, the whale will rapidly lose its shape and could eventually explode.
Further actions will include transportation of the mold to the location of casting, casting of the positive form and bringing it to the desirable result and finally transportation of the completed piece to the intended exhibition venue.
A documentation in form of photography and film is planned as part of the project.
The realization of the project requires close cooperation with diverse institutions and individuals. Renowned whale experts and museums of oceanography have already manifested their support. The final result, the whale-turned-into-a-sculpture, will be presented not in a museum of natural science, but in an artistic context - first in South Africa and later on in Europe - in an open environment of interpretation, thus allowing the project's broad range of content to come to light.
Rewards for backers:
Reward 1: A big thank you !!!
Reward 2: Thank you postcard, addressed to you and signed by the artist
Reward 3: T-Shirt. Signed and numbered
Reward 4: T-Shirt. Signed and numbered
Reward 5: T-Shirt. Signed and numbered
Reward 6: Original charcoal drawing. Signed by the artist. Size: 29.7 x 42 cm (11.7 x 16.5 inches)
Reward 7: Original charcoal drawing. Signed by the artist. Size: 29.7 x 42 cm (11.7 x 16.5 inches)
Reward 8: Original charcoal drawing. Signed by the artist. Size: 29.7 x 42 cm (11.7 x 16.5 inches)
Reward 9: Original charcoal drawing. Signed by the artist. Same motive as reward 3 but larger in size: 42 x 59.4 cm (16.5 x 23.4 inches)
Reward 10: Original charcoal drawing. Signed by the artist. Same motive as reward 4 but larger in size: 42 x 59.4 cm (16.5 x 23.4 inches)
Reward 11: Original charcoal drawing. Signed by the artist. Same motive as reward 5 but larger in size: 42 x 59.4 cm (16.6 x 23.4 inches)
Reward 12: Three original charcoal drawings (rewards 3 + 4 + 5). Signed by the artist. Size: 29.7 x 42 cm (11.7 x 16.5 inches) each
Reward 13: Three original charcoal drawings (rewards 9 + 10 + 11). Signed by the artist. Size: 42 x 59.4 cm (16.5 x 23.4 inches) each
Reward 14: A painted bronze sculpture of a stranded whale. Edition of 5, signed and numbered. Size: 40 cm (16 inches) long.
Risks and challenges
This is an immense undertaking, involving many challenges. Preparations have been made to ensure the success of the project. Permits have been obtained by the authorities in South Africa, and a team, with the task of doing the actual work on the beach, has been put together. The institutions and individuals involved are all professionals, eager to make this happen.
Nevertheless - as nature plays a major role here, we can not say when exactly the project will be realized. Much of it depends on chance - the stranding of a whale, geographical conditions, weather conditions. It might take time and it might not succeed on the first try. But we are determined to pursue our goal until we succeed.
Once the funding is accomplished, the realization of the project can begin. As it might take time, we have created a Facebook page for the project, on which you can follow the progress being made: https://www.facebook.com/castwhaleproject/Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)