Canberra Skywhale: fanciful, breast-studded lighter-than-air cetacean


Here's a beautiful gallery of publicity shots of the Canberra Skywhale, a lighter-than-air sculpture created by Patricia Piccinini to celebrate the centenary of the capital city of Australia. The Skywhale is a fanciful, breast-studded creature from a contrafactual alternate history:

"My question is what if evolution went a different way and instead of going back into the sea, from which they came originally, they went into the air and we evolved a nature that could fly instead of swim. In fact coming from a place like Canberra where it's a planned city that's really tried to integrate and blend in with the natural environment, it makes a lot of sense to make this sort of huge, gigantic, but artificial and natural-looking creature".[8]

The Centenary of Canberra Skywhale (via JWZ)

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  1. After leaving the Sea Shepherd movement, Paul Watson was approached by a local lactivist organisation…..

    1. Maybe it’s middle aged and drinks lots of beer. That’s what happened to me anyway. 

    1. Well yes, I had a similar thought. Canberra is often considered a strange place by those who don’t live there. I think this oddball balloon does in someway represent Canberra, but not in the way it was intended.

  2. Oh, dear . . . . young boys in every town this flies over are going to grow up disappointed in what actual woman have to offer.

    “Oh, um, and . . . ah . . . I wonder if, you know, just for fun, kinda like, maybe you can wear this inflatable whale outfit? You know, f-f-f-f-for, mmmm, you know, kicks?”

  3. So – bloated, cumbersome, ugly, expensive and full of hot air.

    As perfect an abstract representation of the Australian parliament as we could hope for. Bravo!

  4. There has to be a Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy joke in there somewhere:

    “Yeah, this is really exciting. I’m dizzy with anticipation! Or is it the
    wind? There’s an awful lot of that now isn’t it? And what’s this thing
    coming toward me very fast? So big and flat and round, it needs a big
    wide sounding name like ‘Ow’, ‘Ownge’, ‘Round’, ‘Ground’! That’s it!
    Ground! Ha! I wonder if it’ll be friends with me? Hello, Ground!”

  5. The debate about artistic merit and whether it represents the peculiar folk who inhabit Canberra will continue ad infinitum, or until the Japanese harpoon it for research. What causes  concern is the timing, (how inconsiderate of our founding fathers to pick such an inconvenient Centenary), as its Canberra launch fell on the eve of a particularly savage Federal Budget. People who see it, in flight or in the press, respond in two ways: they can see it as  “Art” or “My tax dollars heating the stratosphere”.

  6. I like Patricia Piccinini’s work well enough to realise that her justification for this particular indulgence in her usual themes is obviously after the fact.

    1. Yup, fantastic artist but this statement: “in fact coming from a place like Canberra where it’s a planned city that’s really tried to integrate and blend in with the natural environment, it makes a lot of sense to make this sort of huge, gigantic, but artificial and natural-looking creature” simply doesn’t hold much water!

      1. “….it makes a lot of sense to make this….”

        This part of the statement really kills me.

    1. Ever seen the southwestern armadildo? It’s a nocturnal burrowing animal, but it’s supposed to make a good pet. 

  7. Imagine the comments and disgust and instant psychoanalysis if a male had designed this thing.

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