Re: the title of this post – I couldn’t help myself. Sorry. I’ll stop horsing around* now, and get to the point – which, in this case, is actually the Trojan Horse.
This one may not be designed to hold invading Greeks, but it’s still impressive, nonetheless. I had the opportunity to photograph Handshouse Studio artists Laura and Rick Brown, and a number of MassArt students begin the long process of creating a replica of this legendary piece of tactical trickery.
A quick primer: In Homer’s ’Illiad’, the Greeks used the horse to trick the inhabitants of Troy into opening their gates, by presenting the hollow statue as a peace offering. While most of the Greek army pretended to sail away, Grecian soldiers hid inside the horse, and the Trojans, thinking themselves the victors of the years-long war** between Greece and Troy, brought the horse into the city, and commenced throwing a massive party to celebrate beating the Greeks. After dark, as the city ate and drank itself silly, the Greek soldiers hidden inside the horse slipped out and let in the rest of the waiting Greek army, which had sailed back in the dark. The army destroyed the city, and won the war.
The in-progress horse I photographed yesterday isn’t meant to win a senseless war – I don’t think, anyway – but it is meant to go to one of the coolest museums ever: the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. (Yeah, we have one of those!)
The project began in 2015, when the Browns put out a call for art students to join them in designing and building a life-size replica of the Trojan Horse, using Homer’s text and historical images as diagramming guides.
But the students aren’t just confined to the literal annals of history: this past January, some of the students working on the project actually got to go to Greece to learn ancient Grecian ways of woodworking, which they largely employ to create the replica, and so the Browns could scope out a site in Greece to put the final pieces together. They also got to visit the archaeological site of Troy in Turkey, to measure the gates and figure out the size of the horse.
Basically, this is a really nifty project, so I wanted to write a post about it. I actually got the assignment from The Patriot Ledger. Usually, I don’t repost the photos I make for papers as blog posts – but, then, I haven’t encountered an assignment like this before.
Walking onto the property has this strange calming effect. Since the studio is fairly secluded – I may or may not have had to call Laura to figure out if I had missed the turn, or something – it’s easy to forget that there is a whole motorised world about half a mile away. Sure, there were a bunch of cars parked out front, but they melted into the scenery, rather than stood out. I think it helped that there was an overwhelming smell of raw wood – you know, the smell of fresh logs, before they are burned. It’s a warm smell, the kind that makes all the muscles in my body sigh.
That’s probably why I hung around so long, to be honest. I had all the photos I needed for the Ledger about half an hour in, but I ended up staying for almost the full hour, because I just didn’t want to leave. It was that kind of atmosphere. I think it helped that no one was self-conscious about me wandering around with my camera, which is probably due to the fact that there have been cameras around the project since the get-go: the project is a collaboration with not only the International Spy Museum, but (the freaking amazing) Trillium Studios, also based in Norwell. I got to meet Cary and Yari Wolinsky of Trillium, too, which was a privilege. While they were obviously focused on making video of the project, they were kind, and didn’t mind me wandering into their shots to make photos of the students working.
Anyway, enough talking. Check out the work!
*That was the last one, I promise.
**The clash was basically one big ‘manly’ contest to gain ownership of a woman – you know, because women are clearly objects to be used, owned, and controlled, rather than people. Naturally.