Art, not junk
Now this is uniquely Austin. Down in south Austin, a gentleman has built in his backyard a sculpture from found objects. Not a normal sort of sculpture, but a giant. It started small, just a few hubcaps hanging on a fence, and then it started to grew in place, and I suppose it just got out of hand.
It includes pieces of cars, bicycles, appliances, buildings, computers; cookware, tools; pipes and bottles and fans and gears; washers and stoves and fridges; toys and toasters and typewriters and tennis rackets. You name it.
So, what's really unique about this? First, it's more than fifteen feet high. Mainly metal, but there is lot of plastic and glass, too. Second, it contains *thousands* of components, probably tens of thousands. According to one sign, it includes more than *eight hundred* bikes alone. I could see only a few bikes on the outside, so most of them must be structural. There are a couple hundred compact discs hanging from portions of it as kinetic elements or maybe wind chimes. Third, it is really built as a structure. There are tunnels underneath, ladders to climb, paths around and through it. Fourth, it actually is decorated as a structure, maybe even a cathedral. There are a dozen or two mushroom ventilating fans like the ones on top of restaurants, which look vaguely reminiscent of the onions on Russian churches.
All in all, an astonishing structure. What's not to love? Well, just after we saw it to take these pictures, one of the neighbors was unhappy about the constant flow of strangers and their cars, and complained to the city about its being an unsafe structure. Might hurt someone if it falls down. Is this thing up to code? Does he have a building permit for that structure? For a couple months, while city engineers and inspectors vacillated, there was a threat that it might have to be removed. A couple city engineers quit. But wait, if you wanted to tear it down, was there a demolition permit? After all, the thing weighs about *twenty-five tons*.
The controversy petered out eventually, probably because something else distracted the politicians and the press.
PS: as of mid-2014, it was still standing.