Awesome Whale at Williams
It's so lifelike, you have to touch it. More than 52-feet long and 10-feet high, Tristin Lowe's ghostly (ghastly) white sperm whale installation, Mocha Dick has the look and feel of an awesome creature of the sea. Made out of industrial wool that mimics whale flesh with its gashes, harpoon scars, and wooly barnacles, Lowe's work is a marvel of ingenuity. Like its namesake, the elusive albino sperm whale that attacked the Pequod and whacked off Captain Ahab's leg, this is a whale that is exhausted from evading deadly harpooners. Mocha Dick is based on an 1839 report that a sperm whale "as white as wool" deliberately attacked a whaling vessel near Mocha Island, off the coast of Chile. That story was the basis for the Herman Melville 1851 novel, Moby-Dick.
What gives the whale its super life-like appearance is that the wool felt covers an inflatable armature, maintained by an interior fan, calibrated to create anatomically correct muscle and blubber. See this leviathan at the William College Museum of Art where it is landlocked in a gallery until August 8.