Rarely does one encounter an art exhibit where mayhem and merriment combine seamlessly to channel that inner Mad Max. So imagine our elation after stumbling onto "That's Not a Knife," an arsenal of functioning homemade weaponry boasting crossbows, cannons, shotguns, machetes and the like.
The wicked little show, up at the Little River Yacht Club, features work by Justin H. Long, Robert Meatball Lorie, Larry Newberry, and Leon Cortes. At the recent opening, after watching them pierce a human figure painted onto a wooden door with 2x4's fired from a crossbow at a velocity exceeding 100 miles-per-hour, the mood of the audience was gleeful indeed.
It was was organized by Miami's Funner Projects, a collaborative outfit organized by Long and Lorie whose aim is "to end mundane art experiences and make life funner."
During their recent opening, viewers cheered the group on as they also assaulted targets with fluorescent light tubes launched from cannons. "The cannon was made from PVC pipes galvanized steel and aluminum," Long says. "When the fluorescent tubes slammed into the target the mercury vapor and other shit inside exploded in the air."
Long and his buddies created their weapons from junkyard finds. "The machete, which is more like an axe and machete combined weighs twenty pounds and was made from the leaf spring from a Toyota pick-up truck," Long says.
During the opening, viewers were invited to use the ferocious blade to hack into a pile of wood and flesh crafted to look like a freshly butchered animal's leg. There is also a homemade zip gun that fires 12-gauge shotgun shells. "We created non-lethal rounds and stuffed them with candy for the opening," Long informs. "We got the ammunition at the Walgreens candy aisle. "The weapon is sort of a cross between a shotgun and a piñata," he cracks. "We filled the shells with Tootsie Rolls and Gummy Bears."
On Saturday, March 5, Long and his cohorts are hosting a Fermessage from 7 to 10 p.m. where you can catch their zany antics live and pick up a few tips on creating weapons of mass distraction in your own garage.
Long is even cracking out a cannon he crafted last year that fires 16-ounce beer cans. "I designed it as the ultimate Columbus Day Regatta weapon," the artist says. "It is made from stainless steel and varnished wood and looks like it should be mounted on a ship's prow."
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It makes one wonder if the Spanish Armada had been liberally fitted with Long's thirst-quaffing ordinance whether the English fleet might have been sunk under a withering barrage of suds.