An alternate history of found objects

Mandible, Phoca Vitulina, 2018

 

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Currently on display at Chabot Elementary, Oakland, California, (one of the few elementary schools in the state to employ a full time Science teacher), the Common Seal jawbone is part of the “Living Systems” exhibit exploring the transport system of the Seal that uses its strong jaw and sharp teeth to shake its prey into more manageable pieces.

The jaw was contributed by Justin Elders, a fifth grader, who obtained the jaw while visiting his grandfather. Mr. Elders Sr., who lives in a trailer in a remote area between Hardwick Point and Goose Point on Sequim Bay in the state of Washington and who is known for the eclectic statues in his garden made from driftwood, sea glass, bones and various items he collects from local beaches, was recently cited by the County Sherriff for  “aberrant behaviour interfering with an otherwise reasonable life.” The citation was issued when Mr. Elders’ vintage Spartan Travel Trailer fell off the cinder blocks supporting its excessive weight created by the hundreds and thousands of items Mr. Elders has been collecting for forty-five years.

Justin and his family spent winter break helping dispose of what Mr. Elder’s lamented is the media of his art. The Seal jawbone was the only item spared, as the other jawbone Justin rescued from the dumpster either was left in their hotel room or lost at the Sea-Tac Airport while waiting for their flight home.

Robin Armstrong


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