April 23, 2008


Gentle reader, this is Tammy.

I was excited to learn that SFMOMA was building a sculpture garden on its garage roof. I imagined it—an elaborate place where whiskey rivers would meet the charm and class of chocolate fountains, black light paintings, giant sculptures of tiny Hummel figurines, maybe a maze made out of hedges and a Minotaur!?

But, (sigh)—mass destruction is the prelude to constructing such a place. Elaborate scaffolding was established, walls knocked out, construction crews poured cement into kiddie pools, and life-sized Tonka Toy cranes set to the task of heaving port-o-potties to and from the garage roof. Then: enter the Jackhammer.

The Jackhammer greets me every day as I enter the workplace. At night I imagine its terrible drill, just above my head. I try tuning it out. But it is impossible.

So, why not have a little fun with it? Exhibitions Technical Manager Steve Dye and I went out and made some field recordings of The Jackhammer. And then I added a dash of metal.

Take a listen.

Jackhammer as musical instrument. Blasted Jack-Hammer.

Comments (7)

  • Suzanne! Dan Graham! You did it! I owe you a Gray’s Papaya hot dog from 1989. Thank you!

  • taylor, can you post a link somewhere? i’d love to hear those.

  • Odd coincidence — I work across Minna from the demo/construction project, and have been making my own (very lo-fi) field recordings. When it’s not ringing out at 90dB as you arrive at work, the Jackhammer is actually quite beautiful.

  • Andrew….does this look familiar?

  • Rooftop sculpture gardens are a good call. I have fond memories of being a li’l guy — 10 years old, maybe — on the roof of — could it have been the DIA center? MOMA? and there was a — was it Robert Irwin? It was a large –plexiglass? plastic? it was see-through, slightly tinted plasticy curved sheet — through which you could see the city. Like a giant, steel-framed prescription sunglass lens. I remember being unimpressed — maybe I was eleven — because the effect wasn’t that dramatic. It didn’t really warp the view of the city that dramatically. Just tweaked it a little. I was coming from a framework of — Transformers. Robots in disguise. I wanted things turned upside down. Do you think this could’ve been robert irwin?

    Here’s a good Ozzy minus jackhammer.

  • “and then I added a dash of metal.” Sounds like Ozzy meets Julia Childs. When life gives you jackhammers… you keep rockin in the free world Tammy.

See all responses (7)
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