July 13, 2012

The screw, screwed.



Text: "What is happening to the tip of this sculpture? The polyurethane is undergoing reversion, a very slow irreversible process whereby the solid converts to a viscous liquid."

Now, the screw curving over isn't part of this slow, irreversible process of reversion. The sculpture is "Soft Screw," by Claes Oldenburg, and he intended the big screw to droop like that. Only the slow dripping from the tip — see the drop on the plinth? — is unintended. The "soft screw" wasn't supposed to be that soft. Ironic. Sad.

Are you undergoing any reversion or other very slow irreversible processes?


tim in vermont said...

Yeah, I am a homeowner. In other words, always tilting at entropy.

John said...

Yes, aging.

Ron said...

"I got a totally baffling slow screw from Althouse today!" -- who says blogs don't generate dinner table discussion?

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I'm softening into a person who doesn't take everything so damn seriously and understands that the sages weren't lying when they pointed out that being able to laugh is the mark of a truly sane and happy person.

Thank God.

Carnifex said...

as an addendum to John, maturing.

I miss the younger me that knew absolute truths held sway over everything. That the world was black and white. Now we have shades of gray. Gray people, gray opinions, gray food.

gray is depressing for a reason.

the moments that are etched in my memory aren't gray. the first time my grandson called me "Pappaw", the first time I had to spank my kids, my first sex, my first kiss, the first time I saw my wife. the first time she left me. dodging death from diseases and accidents.

all writ clear in fujicolor, in my memories. None gray. it's all i have left to stand here and shout at the world "in some small way, in your turnings, I, mattered"

someone stop me from maudling again please

Palladian said...

I use cast polyurethane in my work, though usually a very hard polymer version... I suspect that this screw is made of the cellular foaming polyurethane, the kind that couch cushions are made of. The polyurethanes are amazing. One of the ones I use comes in two parts. You mix the parts and in 5 minutes the maple-syrup like liquid gets hot and right before your eyes turns into an opaque white hard plastic. The process is called polymerization, the formation of linked chains of molecules, spurred by chemical and thermal catalysts. I guess this "reversion" is the de-polymerization of those molecules, so they return to their liquid state.

Anyway, this sirt of thing is one of the dangers of technical innovation in the arts. Leonardo experienced it with the rapid disintegration of his "Last Supper" mural, so it's nothing new.

Anonymous said...

Carnifex, don't forget gray hair.

bagoh20 said...


If the maudling is gray, then stop it. Gray is the color that can flood mind easier than any other. The world and heaven are both in vibrant color. It's always there, so never stray far from the color for long. That's where all the vitamins are.

chickelit said...

Polyurethanes are typically made by consensing isocyanates with alcohols. Isocyanates are rather unstable entities and are unlikely to reform by depolymerization. I suspect (without researching it) that the polymer is just slowly hydrolysing with atmospheric moisture. Maybe putting it in a dry environment would save it but who wants a dry screw?

chickelit said...

"condensing" not "consensing" lol

The pleasure is mutual.


traditionalguy said...

Relationships become more valuable as we age. The people who know us from years back still see us we once were. But many of them get sick and a few die.

Meanwhile the youngsters are beginning to see us as weak because we are not interracting as fast with digital programs for any and everything like they have grown up doing.

madAsHell said...

A drippy screw?

Got antibiotics?

edutcher said...

A little Viagra or Cialis should fix it.

Of course, if it's still straight after 4 hours, call a foundry.

Rusty said...

Only the slow dripping from the tip — see the drop on the plinth? — is unintended.

Isn't it always.

Quaestor said...

Here I am undergoing my weekly regression therapy session with Dr. Alfred Brandon. I don't like him. I'd call him a quack, but Dr. Brandon insists I bark instead. Today I'm accompanied by my three "best friends" who have always expressed a desire to see me regress to an earlier form. I write "best friends" within ironic quotes because all they do is jeer at me, and make rude comments about my hair and faulty orthodontia. The worst one is Crow, except for Servo who's even worse. Mike is my only friend... I will devour him last, heh-heh.

Revenant said...

That's supposed to be art?

At first glance I thought it was a shot from the kitchen department of Home Depot

heyboom said...

Am I the only one who was waiting for the vortex to appear?

Tim said...

Yes, like all others, whether they know it or not:

"By the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, until you return to the earth from which you were taken. For dust you are, and unto dust you shall return.”

Genesis 3:19

Carnifex said...

thanx guys

Freeman Hunt said...

Yes. My face is getting older, but my teeth are staying the same. I therefore picture the aging process as my face slowly melting and deteriorating around a maw of preserved teeth that were whitened, arranged, and preserved at great expense to my parents long ago. Someday it all ought to look like a strand of pearls in a drippy ice cream cone.

Unknown said...

Hi Ann,
I loved reading this piece! Well written!