Where to Put the Whale
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Engraving of the whale washed up on the shore of Berckhey near Scheveningen in the Netherlands, 1598. From “A Bestiary of Sir Thomas Browne”
Art, Art + Stories

Where to Put the Whale

A Conversation with the Captain Boomer Collective
Łukasz Kaniewski
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time 6 minutes

In the cold rain, the Captain Boomer Collective and I are roaming the wild beaches on the right bank of the Vistula River, wondering which spot will be best for displaying the 15-metre sperm whale. “Great view,” says Bart. We are standing on the shore, near the Zoo, opposite Warsaw’s Old and New Towns. “If we placed the whale here, the photos would be great. Spectacular.”

It’s the second half of October 2017, a cool, windless, grey day. Bart, Stijn and Beata from the Belgian artistic collective Captain Boomer came to Warsaw to choose a place for their fake whale. They are planning to bring it on a truck in December. It’d be good if the location was picturesque, but it should also be easily accessible. The fibreglass statue of the marine mammal must somehow be delivered to the very edge of the water. It is not too heavy (it weighs no more than a tonne), but it is very long, 15 metres. It is transported in one piece.

“Our first whale was in three parts,” says Stijn. “It was easier to transport it. However, we always had a problem with concealing the connections. We draped it in ropes, tried various tricks.”

Łukasz Kaniewski: What ha

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Watch the Documentary “The Whale”!
Art + Stories, Art

Watch the Documentary “The Whale”!

On the morning of 8th December 2017, those inhabitants of Warsaw on their way to work and school simply couldn’t believe their eyes. They were awestruck by what they saw on a sandy Vistula riverbank, just by Poniatowski Bridge in the city centre.

A huge, motionless creature was lying there – a 15-metres-long whale. Before we revealed that the sperm whale was actually a sculpture created by the Belgian art collective Captain Boomer, brought to Warsaw by the “Przekrój” quarterly team, we managed to achieve our goal. This sculpture provoked people to stop, be surprised and pose questions. Is it real? How on Earth did it get here? Is it because of us?, people wondered.

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