This past Saturday, Stuart Anderson and I dragged the penny smasher prototype out into public for the first time for a “soft” debut before the Flood Tide screening at the Mattress Factory. To the tunes of locals Red Bells, we helped folks crank out pennies, shimmed and re-shimmed the dies, and quietly took stock of all the kinks we still need to work out for next time. Below are some photos from the night…
I provided dramatic, focused light (the room was dark!) while Stuart walked folks through the process…
After someone cranked laboriously through the penny (it still takes some effort to really pull the penny through), we rotated the machine on it’s temporary base in order to poke the finished penny from under the gears.
Here you can see the machine later in the night, with a bunch of the residual marking and shim tape built up under where the design dies sit.
Here’s what folks got, a genuine U.S. one cent penny, totally squished and embossed with a wolf head – appropriated with approval from a previous print design by Justseeds’ own Pete Railand:
We handed out info cards to everyone who smashed a penny. One side detailed our project and where to find out more, and the other side was a summary of our interest in the wolf OR-7, and why we chose to focus on his story as it fit thematically with the whole project. From the card:
OR-7 is a male grey wolf (Canis lupus occidentals) born in October of 2009. Dubbed “Journey”, OR-7 has traveled alone significantly farther than most lone wolves, becoming the first wild wolf registered in Western Oregon since 1947, and the first wolf registered in California since 1924. In the summer of 2014, it was confirmed that OR-7 had found a mate, and that the two had a litter of at least three pups.
Fictionally and mythologically, wolves have commanded sovereignty in our imaginations for millennia. They are symbols of fear and power, commanding in us both awe and spite. In creating what is now the United States, the eradication of wolves and other alpha predators was a critical tenet of Manifest Destiny. Perhaps more than any other animal, wolves reflect the underlying historic tension between how we categorize Wilderness, and our assumptions about our human privilege to the land. The repopulation and movement of wolves in North America brings this struggle between our fear and our imagination to the present day.
The perseverance of OR-7 and his family are a living challenge to this history.
More in-process photos as the project moves forward are on our Tumblr here!