While the launch of Red76’s A/AA Floating Academy occurred a month ago, I’m finally getting around to posting some images of that day. Dial back your mind to August and imagine:
- a heat index of over 100 degrees
- blastingly bright sunshine
- four ramshackle rafts of various sizes made from artwork packing crates, foam tubes and paint buckets left over from the museum
- a team of artists from Red76, Walker staff and interns and a few dedicated Surplus Seminar attendees
- eight hand-made, silk-screened paddles
- one A/AA flag flying high
After hauling all the watercraft to the determined launch location of the lake’s north-end canoe area, the crew assembled a shade canopy on one of the boats and carried them all into the water. To our delight and surprise, each raft floated even with the addition of passengers. Off we went. We spent the next four hours swimming, drifting and talking about many of the conceptual threads that wove through the entire seminar: the histories of land use and rights in Minnesota, survivalism, colonization, utopia as a tool, the ethical complications of philanthropy and of the “commons” relative to our location on Lake of the Isles.
And then finally, all of our remaining energies were spent in an attempt to steer our lumbering junk rafts through tangles of millfoil in an exhausted race against an impending thunderstorm.
For those readers who chose (perhaps wisely) the comforts of your front porch that day, here is stop-motion style report of what the big float was like.
(Big thanks to Juana Berrio for the video!)