The Duck is Down!! I repeat, Duck Down!!

This just in from the Herald Sun in Melbourne:

Duck down for count before NYE party in Taiwan


Duck down … A giant inflatable duck in Taiwan has exploded just before New Years celebrations. It is not the first time the art installation has deflated. Last month it was the victim of a 6.3-magnitude earthquake and in May the duck also exploded in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour (pictured). Source: AFP

A GIANT yellow duck on display in a northern Taiwan port exploded just hours before it was expected to attract a big crowd to count down the new year.

The 18-metre-tall duck on show at Keelung burst around noon on Tuesday and deflated into a floating yellow disc, only 11 days after it went on display.

It was the second time that a giant inflatable duck – a bath toy replica created by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman – had burst while on show in Taiwan.

“We want to apologise to the fans of the yellow rubber duck … the weather is fine today and we haven’t found the cause of the problem. We will carefully examine the duck to determine the cause,” organiser Huang Jing-tai told reporters.

Organisers had planned to stay open past midnight on Tuesday in anticipation of a large new year crowd.

The Central News Agency cited an eyewitness as saying the rubber bird might have fallen victim to eagles which scratched it with their claws.

Three Taiwanese cities exhibited their versions of the yellow duck in 2013. But all were forced temporarily to suspend the exhibit due to bad weather or damage.

Taiwan rubber duck

Local residents gather to see Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s yellow rubber duck (C) at a harbour in the southern city of Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Last month the duck on display in the northern county of Taoyuan became a high-profile victim of a 6.3-magnitude earthquake, which triggered a power outage that caused it to deflate when an air pump stopped working.

Powerful winds caused the duck’s rear end to burst while it was being re-inflated. Organisers in Taoyuan had to borrow another duck commissioned by the Kaohsiung city government to continue the show.

The duck at Kaohsiung, which attracted four million visitors during a one-month display, was temporarily deflated and lifted ashore as a safety precaution when Typhoon Usagi pounded the island in September.

Since 2007 the original duck designed by Hofman – which is 16.5 metres tall – has travelled to 13 cities in nine countries, including Brazil, Australia and Hong Kong, on its journey around the world.




Banksy Shmanksy

So, I’ve been moderately annoyed with the overdone and sometime schmaltzy coverage of Banksy’s New York residency.  It is just too much about his brand and celebrity and too little about how he might actually affect the public.  He didn’t do anything really new that I can see.  Of course, I stopped following the vacuous daily news stories about what pithy throw-up was discovered by the gooey fan-club members in the media at about October 15.  Maybe 16.  So, maybe I missed the real quality…


However, I am forced to admit that on his last day he knocked his “audio guide” out of the freakin’ park.  Listen:


Banks…  (that’s what I call him…)  Banks:  I too hope that the last few centuries of art history are the anomaly.




Green is the New Red, With Which to Paint the Town

First, we at the Poorly Kept Secret Society apologize for the title of this post.

Second, check out these images.  What do they have in common:

(Photo appeared on the Denver Post website.)

(Photo appeared on the Washington Post website.)

(Photo appeared on the New York Post website.)

Is this an act of civil disobedience?  A coordinated, suddenly national effort that will culminate in a social/environmental/economic message that will soon be revealed?  Is this the first battle cry for a new protest movement?

Or, a coincidence?  A couple of yahoos who think they’ll get their fifteen minutes via the mis-tint shelf at Sherman Williams?

Ooh!  Or, perhaps, a very clever consortium of rouge objects conservators who are drumming up business by hiring unsuspecting innocents to carry out this vandalism for the sole purpose of ensuring they will have work the next day!  Love a conspiracy!!

Here’re the stories:

Open question to all Agents and Co-conspirators of the Poorly Kept Secret Society: What elusive connection do the sites that were vandalized with green paint have in common?

I See What You Mean (Blue Bear) by Lawrence Argent

The Lincoln Memorial by Daniel Chester French

Washington National Cathedral

Joseph Henry by William Story

Once we know their common connection, we are that much closer to discovering the location of the Arc of the Covenant.

My apologies.  I am once again confusing my life with the movie I watched last night…


Several Agents of the Poorly Kept Secret Society have been, for several years now, tracking a curious tag around the Denver Metropolitan Area:

The expertly formed tag was most compelling in concept: Fevers kept true to the name.  The tag popped up in many media, in many places: marker on electrical boxes, aerosol on retaining walls, bridges, road signs, billboards, on and on and on.  The tag itself was a fever, infecting the city.  The pace was frenetic, with a new manifestations of the Fevers disease popping up overnight.  Like the landscape itself was in the throws of the fever.  Or, perhaps, the tag itself was a symptom of some strange new social disease, a disease which compelled the poor patient to endlessly deface property all night: Turrets with spray cans.  It was disturbing and compelling.  Agents eagerly, yet with trepidation, sought out the next boil, the next rash, the next unusual locale for the obsessive Fevers tag to manifest.

And then… nothing.  Agents report that, though a few of Fevers tags remain, there have been no new cases to report in months.  The Poorly Kept Secret Society asks “what has happened to Fevers”?

Perhaps Fevers recovered, no longer compelled to scribble on lampposts and abandoned cars.  Perhaps Fevers has been arrested: sentenced to probation and community service.  Sobered by the experience, perhaps Fevers has given up the lifestyle.  Perhaps Fevers only tagged to keep the mind occupied through the Great Recession and now, gainfully employed in a cushy recovery job (I imagine building solar panels on a hefty government contract…) perhaps Fevers has no time, no energy to devote to the sickness.  Perhaps Fevers escaped the compulsive allure of Denver’s streets, and now fights the urge to infect some other town.

Whatever the reason, the fever has broken.

Some Agents of the Poorly Kept Secret Society are saddened.  Some hope for a relapse.

The Penguins of Taksim

Recently a profound social movement erupted in Istanbul. It quickly spread to a nation-wide protest. Some say it may rejuvenate the spirit of the Arab Spring, as Egyptians and Brazilians now fill the streets in their turn. With this heady world event unfolding, we in the Poorly Kept Secret Society cannot help but contemplate the Penguins.

The government decided that the public square in Istanbul’s Gezi Park, Taksim Square, could be privately developed.  Turn it into a shopping mall!  Make some cash!  Who needs a public square, anyway, when one can have a cheap venti double-shot latte with extra foam!  A venti double-shot latte with extra foam stands in for the public commons, right?  A full on social and political revolt resulted.  Feet in the streets.  Protests in Istanbul spread throughout the country.  And, the grievances spread as well: a general uneasiness about creeping fundamentalism (according to Western media sources…).  These developments have been the source of much discussion amongst Agents of the Poorly Kept Secret Society.  The fact that a public space could be so vital, so consequential to the people of Turkey is heartening.

Nothing new, of course.  We all remember the outcry over the crass closing and demolition of the South Central Farm in Los Angeles.  What?  You don’t remember?  Look:

What do we learn about the built environment by examining those times in our past when we have taken to the streets, or taken to arms, over the Commons?  How does it relate to our Rights?  And, does this lead us to the Right to the City movement?  Some Agents in the Poorly Kept Secret Society think that is extreme.  Others think that might be inevitable.  Of course, some of our Agents also think that the third season of Downton Abby is a fine way to spend two solid days.  (And, for such actions they will be censured.)

The social and political movement in Turkey is all the more remarkable, and ironically charming, in just how it has developed  a cultural language.  As the protestors of Turkey were attacked by security forces, CNN Turk saw it fit to forgo the live footage of peaceful protestors being attacked, and instead chose to run a delightful documentary about penguins.  Those cute little tuxedo-ed fowl stood in for the uprising.  This abhorrent editorial gaff was quickly embraced by the leaders of the protest.  What better symbol for both the degenerate acquiescence of the world media and metaphor for the elite’s desires for our society: stand in line; act and look the same; be as we tell you to be; identify as identical so that we may profit from the industry of culture.


The Penguin began to appear in graffiti, on t-shirts, everywhere.  (This little diddy from The Guardian spells it out okay:  We, the agents of the Poorly Kept Secret Society, think it should be a world-wide meme.  Embrace the Penguin as a symbol for the new Horizontalismo!  Encourage the peaceful reinvigorated world-wide call for Democracy!  Raise the flipper instead of the fist!