Want to start a heated conversation with a Calgarian? Just mention the Giant Blue Ring, the Poop Palace, Bowfort Tower, or the Peace Bridge. And you’ll get a Calgarian riled up faster than JT can spend a trillion dollars. Don’t worry, if you have no idea what a Poop Palace is – I’ve got you covered I’ll be posting about these other works of ‘public art’
in the next coming weeks. whenever I get around to it.
For those of you who are not familiar with the Big Fucking Giant Blue Ring known from here on out as the BFGBR – It’s a giant blue hula hoop with a light fixture on top that was installed at the intersection of industry and suburbia in the city of Calgary.
The funds to build the BFGBR were part of Calgary’s policy on spending 1% of the construction budget on public art. The controversy began when the funds were sent to a foreign firm to construct the BFGBR. It escalated when the good citizens of cowtown found out WTF was going on. And at one point even the Mayor of Calgary Naheed Nenshi said it was “awful.” Which quickly led to the review of the City’s spending policy but led to absolutely zero change.
I want to be clear, I also hated the damn thing when it was first installed. I think anyone who is not a nutter can agree that the only thing that the BFGBR is a fantastic example of is a blatant waste of taxpayers’ money.
That said, it’s growing on me, sort of like mold in a dingy basement suite in Vancouver. You’re never going to get rid of it, so you might as well accept it and live with it.
It’s weird and quirky and has no purpose. But what is public art for, if not to pique people’s curiosity? I can certainly tell you that people continue to ask today (8 years after it was built), a simple “WTF is that”?
I can also tell you that every time I drive by the ‘traveling lights’ (official name) AKA the Stargate or BFGBR, I think what a giant fucking waste of $$$ and smile (just a little and only on the inside) and think that my whole $0.50 contribution to this project was definitely worth it.
Don’t let me convince you though – Decide for yourself.